Suit vs San Roque Dam operators to go to trialPhilippine Daily Inquirer
DAGUPAN CITY—A court in Rosales, Pangasinan, has asked the San Roque Power Corp. (SRPC) and the National Power Corp. (Napocor) to answer the civil cases filed against them by two businessmen who incurred losses during the massive flooding in the province in 2009.
Judge Teodorico Alfonso Bauzon, of the Regional Trial Court Branch 53, issued the order last week after he denied, for lack of merit, SRPC’s and Napocor’s motions for reconsideration. Bauzon denied last year their motions to dismiss the cases.
In its motion for reconsideration, SRPC said there was no cause of action against the power generation company because it was not actively involved in the management of the San Roque Dam for flood control purposes.
SRPC said it was Napocor that decides when to release water and how much water would be released from the dam.
But Bauzon said he found both SRPC and Napocor are actively involved in the management of the dam because, he said, despite Napocor’s instruction, the spillway gates cannot be opened without SRPC’s approval.
“This means that a full blown trial will start soon,” said Rosendo So, who filed a P12.9-million damage suit against SRPC and Napocor in August 2010.
So represented the Goldon Agritech Products, a family-owned firm based in Barangay (village) Carmen West in Rosales town.
Another businessman, Roger Tan, representing Anson Rice Mill, also in Rosales town, filed a separate P10-million damage suit in the same court against SRPC and Napocor also in August 2010.
Tom Valdez, SRPC vice president for corporate social responsibility, said he was not aware of the court’s recent decision. “I’ll check with our lawyer,” he said on Wednesday.
In his complaint, So said the dam operators “negligently and unjustifiably” failed to calibrate the release of water from San Roque Dam at the height of Typhoon “Pepeng” in October 2009.
“Instead of releasing water from the dam gradually and in lesser volumes, they released water suddenly without adequate and timely warning to the people,” he said.
He said the sudden release of water from the dam’s spillways was done without warning and prior notice to the provincial government and other towns and cities along the Agno River.
“Thus it caught all the inhabitants, the local governments and the business establishments, including [the complainant], flat-footed and unprepared to deal with the sudden onslaught of water,” So said.
With floodwater as high as 8 feet entering his company’s warehouse in Barangay Carmen West, So said the fertilizers stored there, worth P12.9 million, were destroyed. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon