Court drops fisherfolk’s amparo bid
“Go home. I won’t harm you. If I’m going to order a hit on someone, he or she would have to be a big fish.”
Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy waved off Cordova fisherfolk in Cebuano minutes before a court dismissed their petition for a writ of amparo yesterday.
The petition would have given them protection from what they claimed was harassment by Mayor Sitoy for their opposition against the town’s 10-hectare reclamation project.
The writ was previously denied in March by Acting Exectuive Judge Teresita Abarquez-Galanida.
During yesterday’s hearing, Mandaue Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Estela Alma Cinco of Branch 55 said that “in view of the denial,” the petition is “closed and terminated.”
She said that like a petition for habeas corpus, the moment a writ of amparo is denied, a motion for reconsideration is not possible.
Judge Cinco said the fisherfolk may consider filing another petition for a writ of amparo.
The petition was filed by fishermen Cirilo Pagobo, Eduardo Quijano and Alejandro Baguio, who had earlier filed a case with environment activities against Mayor Sitoy, Gov. Gwen Garcia and other officials before the Visayas Ombudsman’s Office.
Before entering the sala, Mayor Sitoy spoke to the fisherfolk and dared them to file “more and more petitions.”
Their lawyer, Dante Ramos, said they can file another writ of amparo petition or file a criminal case of obstruction of justice.
Sitoy, a former college law dean, told reporters the petitioners have no case.
“Wa ray 15 minutes, knockout (It didn’t even reach 15 minutes and already there was a knockout,” he quipped.
The fisherfolk said the mayor announced during an elementary school graduation ceremony that he would make sure the fisherfolk were jailed after they filed a case against him.
The Environment Management Board of Central Visayas (EMB-7) earlier said the town’s environmental compliance certification (ECC) is valid.
But William Cuñada, acting chief of the EMB’s Environmental Impact Assessment and Monitoring Division, said the ECC applies only for Cordova’s roll-on, roll-off port project and not the entire Cordova reclamation project.He said Cordova applied for a reclamation project with the Capitol, thus violating the conditions of the acquired ECC.
Cuñada said Mayor Sitoy committed to pay the fine on or before the end of this month.
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