The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking to stop the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases from cutting the trees at the Nayong Pilipino to give way for the establishment of a mega vaccination site for COVID-19.
In a four-page en banc resolution, the SC ruled that the petition for writ of kalikasan and writ of continuing mandamus filed by former Boac, Marinduque Mayor Pedrito Nepomuceno against the IATF was insufficient in form and substance, thus, warranting it dismissal.
The tribunal noted Nepomuceno’s petition suffered formal defects as it was unsigned, unverified and unaccompanied by a certification of non-forum shopping.
The SC said the petition also failed to show proof of service to the adverse parties and payment for Sheriff’s Trust Fund.
On the substantive requirements, the high court said the petitioner failed to identify the environmental laws violated or threatened to be violated, and the environmental damage of such magnitude as to put at risk the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces to warrant the issuance of a writ of kalikasan.
“Nepomuceno’s invocation of the State’s responsibilities to protect and advance the people’s right to a balanced and healthful ecology and preserve and protect the environment, without identifying the respondents’ unlawful act or omission, is insufficient to justify the issuance of the writs prayed for,” the SC said.
The tribunal also said that the petition was not supported by any evidence other than online articles discussing the proposed vaccination center.
“Verily, unverified news articles on the internet are hearsay evidence, twice removed, and are thus without any probative value.All told, the petition is insufficient both in form and substance,” the tribunal declared.
Nepomuceno filed the petition on May 11, 2021 against the IATF to prevent the cutting down of trees at the Nayong Pilipino compound.
Nepomuceno claimed the establishment of the vaccination center will destroy the environment and violate environmental laws.
According to the petitioner, the proposed vaccination center did not undergo the mandatory Environmental Impact Analysis by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and had no Environmental Compliance Certificate.