Manila, Philippines?The Supreme Court ordered Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and the City Council of Manila to answer the petitions of Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and Social Justice Society (SJS) that question the validity of City Ordinance 8187 allowing Pandacan oil depot to stay in Manila.
Lim and the rest of the city council were given 10 days to answer the allegations raised in two separate petitions filed by Atienza and SJS, said SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez.
In two separate petitions, SJS and Atienza, together with Councilors Benny Abante, Bonjay Isip-Garcia, Joy Dawis-Asuncion, and Che Borromeo, sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would stop immediately the implementation of the new ordinance.
Petitioners said the new ordinance is contrary to the now executory high court decision issued March 7, 2007, affirming the validity of the relocation of the depots of the three oil firms.
Ordinance No. 8187 -- entitled ?An Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 8119, otherwise known as The Comprehensive Land Use and Zoning Ordinance of 2006? -- was signed by Mayor Alfredo S. Lim last May.
The new ordinance reclassifies Pandacan district into an industrial zone, thus, allowing the three major oil firms to maintain their oil depot in the 36-hectare area. It paves the way for the creation of Medium Industrial Zone (1-2) and Heavy Industrial Zone (1-3).
The three oil companies that maintain the depot in the Pandacan district are Chevron Philippines Inc., Petron Corp., and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.
The Social Justice Society, whose petition paved the way for the March 7, 2007 high court decision, said that the City Council of Manila can only legislate to promote the general welfare of its inhabitants.
The oil depots of Chevron, Petron and Shell store millions of liters of flammable and volatile substances including aviation fuel.
?Undoubtedly they are magnets for attacks by terrorists. The conflagration triggered in the depot by a terrorist attack would result in deaths and destruction that would dwarf the New York Sept. 11 and Mumbai bombings,? SJS said.
Thus, they said the new ordinance is illegal since Article III, Section 8 of the Revised Manila Charter, mandates the city government to pass laws that would promote the general welfare and not to endanger its citizens.