Supreme Court upholds P1-M fine vs Robina for pollution
The Supreme Court has upheld the P1.25-million fine slapped on Universal Robina Corp. (URC) by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Court of Appeals after its corn refinery plant was found to have polluted Pasig River with its wastewater.
The tribunal’s Third Division dismissed URC’s petition for review on certiorari which questioned the period of violation which served as the LLDA’s basis for the amount of penalty.
The LLDA based the fine on the 1,247 days that URC’s plant in Bagong Ilog, Pasig City discharged wastewater in the Pasig River, which amounted to P1.247 million worth of daily penalties.
UCP, a subsidiary of URC refused Friday to discuss the merits of the case.
But the company in a statement said it had implemented steps to ensure that its operations were environment-friendly.
The decision, penned by retiring Senior Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, said that the LLDA was correct in considering the two periods within which the URC plant was discharging the wastewater.
These were from Mar. 14, 2000 to Nov.r 3, 2003 and from Mar.15, 2006 and Apr. 17, 2007.
The Court said the LLDA was correct in imposing the penalty under an agency resolution which set a penalty for prohibitive acts of not more than P1,000 for each day of violation or imprisonment of from two to six years or both fine and imprisonment.
The Court also noted that URC appealed the LLDA’s decision before the Court of Appeals instead of exhausting the administrative remedies such as elevating the case to the Environment Secretary.
URC had asked for a reduction of the penalties to 560 days or an equivalent of P560,000, claiming that the LLDA made a mistake in its adoption of straight computation of periods of violation.
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