BETTER LATE THAN NEVER


The Center for International Law (Centerlaw), counsel for Palawan Civil Society that questioned the constitutionality of P.D. 910 and E.O. 683 providing for an interim sharing agreement between the national government and Palawan provincial government granting Palawan only 20% net of the earnings of Malampaya – welcome the Supreme Court’s issuance of a TRO on the further release of Malampaya fund.

Prof. Harry Roque, Chair of Centerlaw and Counsel for Palawan Civil Society said, “Better late than never”.

Roque added, “We filed to declare that the Malampaya Fund cannot be spent as a discretionary fund or pork barrel of the President as early as 2002 when government first earned royalties from the Malampaya fund. It took the court eleven years to restrain the illegal spending and only after Napoles and her cohorts allegedly malversed 900 Million of it.”

A further 23.6 Billion of Malampaya Funds is being audited by COA on suspicion that the sum has also been malversed. The Petition against the spending of the Malampaya fund as pork barrel was filed by Kilusan Love Malampaya (KLM) led by Bishop Pedro Arigo, the late Gerry Ortega, Ceasar Ventura and former DILG Secretary Cesar Sarino.

Urgent Motion to Rule on the Malampaya Fund Mess Petition filed at SC today


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
SUPREME COURT
EN BANC
MANILA

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY RAPHAEL P.M. LOTTILA, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE), MARGARITO B.TEVES, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE (DOF), AND ROMULO L. NERI, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT (DBM),
Petitioners

SC. G.R. No. 170867
For: PETITION FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 (with an Application for Writs of Preliminary Mandatory and Prohibitory Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order)
-versus-

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF PALAWAN, REPRESENTED BY GOVERNOR MARIO JOEL T. REYES,
Respondent.

X_________________________________X

-AND-

BISHOP PEDRO DULAY ARIGO, ET AL.,
Petitioners,

X__________________________________X

SC. G.R. No. 185941
For: PETITION FOR REVIEW ON CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 45 (with an Application for Writs of Preliminary Mandatory and Prohibitory Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order)
-versus-

HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA,
Respondents.
X__________________________________X

URGENT MOTION TO RESOLVE

Petitioners, by counsel, and unto this Honorable Court, respectfully state, that:

1. On November 24, 2009, this Honorable Court held oral arguments in this consolidated cases on the main issue of whether or not the provincial government of Palawan – a Respondent in this case because of the wanton ways in which it has helped itself to the fund in question – is entitled to a 40-percent share in the utilization and development of the Camago-Malampaya natural gas reservoir, and the following sub-issues:

I. Whether or not the Camago-Malampaya natural gas reservoir (which is approximately 80 kilometers from the coastline of mainland Palawan, but between the mainland and the Municipality of Kalayaan) lies within the “territorial jurisdiction” of Palawan, thus entitling Palawan to participate in the government’s share from th development of such natural resource pursuant to Section 290 of Republic Act no. 7160 (RA 7160) which provides:

Amount of Share of Local Government Units. – Local government units shall, in addition to the internal revenue allotment, have a share of forty percent (40%) of the gross collection derived by the national government from the preceding fiscal year from mining taxes, royalties, forestry and fishery charges, and such other taxes, fees, or charges, including related surcharges, interests, or fines, and from its share in any co-production, joint venture or production sharing agreement in the utilization and development of the national wealth within their territorial jurisdiction.

II. Whether or not Palawan’s jurisdiction over marine waters (for purposes of sharing in the national wealth) is confined within the 15-kilometer zone of its “municipal waters”, defined under Section 131 of Ra 7160, which reads:

r) “Municipal Waters” includes not only streams, lakes, and tidal waters within the municipality, not being the subject of private ownership and not comprised within the national parks, public forest, timber lands, forest reserves or fishery reserves, but also marine waters included between two lines drawn perpendicularly to the general coastline from points where the boundary lines of the municipality or city touch the sea at low tide and a third line parallel with the general coastline and fifteen (15) kilometers from it. Where two (2) municipalities are so situated on the opposite shores that there is less than fifteen (15) kilometers of marine waters between them, the third line shall be equally distant from opposite shores of their respective municipalities;

III. Whether or not Republic of the Philippines’ stance that the Local Government does not extend beyond the 15-kilometer limit of the municipal waters, is in accordance with Article X, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution fully reproduced below:

Section 7. Local governments shall be entitled to an equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and development of the national wealth within their respective areas, in the manner provided by law, including sharing the same with the inhabitants by way of direct benefits.

IV. Whether or not Section 3(1) of RA 7611, otherwise known as the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act, which delineates Palawan’s maritime area beyond the 15-kilometer zone, serves only the purpose for which RA 7611 was enacted, i.e., to protect and enhance Palawan’s endangered ecological environment, or that this provision effectively affirms the proposition that the local government’s territorial jurisdiction, in this instance, Palawan, is co-extensive with its maritime area;

V. Whether or not Administration Order No. 381, issued by President Ramos in 1998, remains the stance of the national government with respect to the entitlement of Palawan to the proceeds from the Camago-Malampaya gas project;

VI. Whether or not the case involves international law.

2. Subsequently, this Honorable Court directed the parties to submit their respective Memorandum on the issues, with Petitioners filing theirs sometime in January 2010;

3. On November 23, 2011, the attention of Petitioners was drawn to a news item that appeared on the website of TV5 (www.interaksyon.com) with the headline “COA recommends graft charges vs ex-Palawan gov Joel Reyes over P2.8-B Malampaya mess.”

4. The news item posted on the website also carried a link to a PDF file of the Executive Summary of the COA Report on the audit it conducted on the funds in question which established the criminal liability of the former governor.

5. On the same day, Petitioners filed with this Honorable Court a manifestation on the said development, which, to their mind, further underscored their point about the questionable constitutionality and legality of the way the funds arising from the Malampaya projects are being utilized by both the national government and the provincial government of Palawan.

6. Today, in the last two weeks, Petitioners’ attention has been captivated by a shocking scandal involving yet again the Malampaya fund subject of their petition: the Janet Napoles pork barrel scam involving P10 billion pesos.

7. They are beyond shocked by reports coming out in the news media that only two days after this Honorable Court heard the oral arguments in this case on November 24, 2009, Mrs. Napoles began a systematic and brazen raid on the Malampaya fund, eventually making off with a total of P900 million originally intended for agrarian reform beneficiaries.

8. According to one news report:

In the Malampaya fund scam, Suñas said local governments were supposed to receive agricultural kits through the dummy NGOs.

“But no delivery was ever made. All the receipts for the liquidation of the funds were manufactured,” Suñas said.

Asked if Pangandaman and Nieto were involved in the scam, Suñas replied: “Based on the vouchers received by the NGOs, they were also the signatories. We do not know the agreement between them and Ma’am Janet.”

According to the documents obtained by the Inquirer, the P900 million was released in three tranches: on Nov. 26, on Dec. 23, and on Dec. 29, all in 2009.

See the attached ANNEX A, a copy of the news article entitled “97 mayors’ signatures fake,” by Nancy C. Carvajal, which came out in the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 11, 2013, available at : http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/462841/97-mayors-signatures-fake#ixzz2cPHnEj32

9. Today, news also came out that the Commission on Audit (COA) “is investigating disbursements amounting to P23.6 billion from the Malampaya Fund by the Arroyo administration, 60 percent of which were released during a spending binge before the May 2010 presidential election.”
10. According to the report:
Then Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. and his deputy, Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, signed more than 150 statement of allotment release orders (Saros) covering P14 billion between Oct. 21, 2009, and Dec. 29, 2009, ostensibly for victims of Tropical Storm “Ondoy” and Typhoon “Pepeng” and other infrastructure projects.
….
The P23.6 billion being audited by the COA out of the government share in the operation of oil and natural gas fields in Malampaya off Palawan is more than twice the P10-billion pork barrel scam allegedly perpetrated by bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

See attached ANNEX B, a copy of the news report entitled”COA probes P23B gas fund under Arroyo” by Gil C. Cabacungan, which was published on the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 19, 2013, and found at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/468537/coa-probes-p23b-gas-fund-under-arroyo#ixzz2cPAGn89q

11. Nearly three years have come and gone since the oral arguments in this case were heard by this Honorable Court; within that time frame, the systematic plunder of the Malampaya Funds – the very reason this case was brought to this Honorable Court by Petitioners – have apparently gone on unabated.

12. Meanwhile, one of the original petitioners when this case was still with the trial court level– Dr. Gerry Ortega, has died in the hail of assassin’s bullets – apparently because of the exposes he had made as a radio broadcaster on the massive corruption involved in the government’s handling of the fund.

13. With due respect to this Honorable Court, the Petitioners, the people of Palawan, and the people of the Republic of the Philippines have waited long enough for this Honorable Court to put finis to this plunder of public coffers.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Petitioners ask of this Honorable Court that this Honorable Court finally put an end to the plunder of the Malampaya Fund by immediately resolving this case
Makati City for the City of Manila, August 20, 2013

By the Counsel for Petitioners:

ROQUE & BUTUYAN LAW OFFICES
1904 Antel 2000 Corporate Center
121 Valero Street, Salcedo Village
Makati City 1200
Email: mail@roquebutuyan.com
Tel. Nos. 887-4445/887-3894;
Fax No: 887-3893

HERMINIO HARRY L. ROQUE
ROLL NO. 36976
IBP LIFETIME MEMBER
PTR NO. 369262 (1/18/13)-MAKATI CITY
MCLE COMPLIANCE NO. IV-000513 (2/15/13)

ROMEL REGALADO BAGARES
ROLL NO. 49518
IBP NO. 924439 (1/10/13)-SOCSARGEN
PTR NO. 3692460 (1/18/13)-MAKATI CITY
MCLE COMPLIANCE NO. IV-0011822 (2/15/13)

COPY FURNISHED:

Hon. Paquito Ochoa Jr.
Office of the Executive Secretary
Malacanang, Manila

Office of the Solicitor General
134 Amorsolo St.,Legaspi Village
1229 Makati City

Department of Budget and Management
JP Laurel St., corner Ayala St. Manila

Department of Energy
Meritt Road, Fort Bonifacio
Taguig, Metro Manila

Hon. Cesar Purisima
Secretary
Department of Finance
Roxas Blvd., corner Vito Cruz St.,
Manila

Hon. Abraham Khalil B. Mitra
Governor
Provincial Capitol
Puerto Princesa City
Palawan

Hon. Antonio C. Alvarez,
Representative, 1st District, Palawan
House of Representatives Complex
Constitutional Hills, Quezon City 1126

Hon. Victorino Dennis M Socrates
Representative, 2nd District, Palawan
House of Representatives Complex
Constitution Hills, Quezon City 1126.

Rafael E. del Pilar
President & CEO
PNOC Exploration Corporation
Building 1, Energy Center
Fort Bonifacio
Taguig City 1634

EXPLANATION

Due to the shortage of messengerial services and lack of time this Manifestation is being served to the other parties by registered mail in accordance with Section 11, Rule 13 of the Revised Rules of Court.

ROMEL REGALADO BAGARES

High Court Urged to Rule on Malampaya Fund Mess Petition


Please see attached a motion we will file tomorrow with the Supreme Court on the Malampaya fund mess. For background, we also attach a copy of the petition we filed with the High Court in February 2009.

In February 2009, a group of petitioners led by Bishop Pedro N. Arigo, filed a petition with the Supreme Court questioning what they said was the illegal and unconstitutional use by the national government of the multi-billion dollar Malampaya fund through the issuance by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of EO 683 which authorized the “use of fees, revenues and receipts from service contract no. 38 for the implementation of development projects for the people of Palawan.”

About ten months after the case was filed, on November 24, 2009, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the issue raised by the case.

Nearly FOUR YEARS have come and gone since the oral arguments in this case were heard by this Honorable Court; within that time frame, the systematic plunder of the Malampaya Funds – the very reason this case was brought to the Supreme Court by Petitioners – have apparently gone on unabated, as seen in the Janet Napoles pork barrel scam; Napoles is alleged to have begun raiding the fund just two days after the oral arguments at the High Court, eventually making off with P900 million from the fund.

Meanwhile, one of the original petitioners when this case was still with the trial court level– Dr. Gerry Ortega, has died in the hail of assassin’s bullets – apparently because of the exposes he had made as a radio broadcaster on the massive corruption involved in the government’s handling of the fund.

With due respect to the Supreme Court , the Petitioners, the people of Palawan, and the people of the Republic of the Philippines have waited long enough for this Honorable Court to write finis to this plunder of public coffers.

Prof. Harry Roque, counsel for petitioners declared: “Had the Court decided the case immediately after oral arguments almost 4 years ago, we would not have just prevented Napoles from squandering 900 million of government money. We would probably have been able to prevent PGMA’s plunder of 26.3 Billion of taxpayers money to benefit her lying, cheating, and stealing regime”.

motiontoresolve8.20.13
SCPetRule45