SC junks petition vs setting up mega vaccination site in Nayong Pilipino

Published July 22, 2021, 6:15 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Supreme Court (SC)

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the petition which challenged the setting up of a temporary mega vaccination site for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Nayong Pilipino in Pasay City.

In a resolution promulgated last June 15 and posted last July 21, junked by the SC was the petition filed by former Boac, Marinduque Mayor Pedrito M. Nepomuceno for a Writ of Kalikasan.

Nepomuceno alleged that the setting up of the mega vaccination site will entail the cutting of trees which would destroy the environment.

He also claimed that the proposed vaccination center did not undergo the mandatory Environmental Impact Analysis and had no Environmental Compliance Certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Named respondents in the petition were President Duterte as overall chairperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF); Secretary Francisco Duque, III, IATF chairperson; Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. of the Joint Task Force Covid-19 Shield, Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Last April, the IATF approved the setting up of a temporary mega vaccination center on the reclaimed land at the Nayong Pilipino Compound in Pasay City.

The IATF then authorized the National Task Force against COVID-19 to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) to construct the vaccination center.

However, the NPF opposed the project because it will cut down nearly 500 trees. Last May 11, Nepomuceno filed his petition.

In dismissing the petition, the SC, in a full court resolution, said:

“Here, Nepomuceno’s petition suffered from formal defects. Foremost, the petition was unsigned, unverified and unaccompanied by a certification of non-forum shopping.

“Worse, the petition lacks proof of service to the adverse parties, and payment for Sheriffs Trust Fund.

“Anent the substantive requirements, the petition failed to identify the environmental laws violated or threatened to be violated, and the environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces to warrant the issuance of a Writ of Kalikasan.

“Likewise, the petition did not demonstrate the public officers’ unlawful neglect to perform an act enjoined explicitly by environmental laws to support his request for the issuance of a Writ of Continuing Mandamus.

“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.

“Notably, the petition is not supported by any material 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. For these reasons, the petition is DISMISSED.”