THE country governor’s league asked the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the petition filed by the Global Legal Action on Climate Change (GLACC) mandating the creation of rainwater collectors in every barangay.
In a 12-page opposition, the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) through lawyer Gil-Fernando Cruz argued that GLACC represented by Ramon Magsaysay awardee Antonio Oposa Jr. failed to exhaust all legal remedies prior to the filing of the petition.
GLACC said it had sent several letters to the respondents Leagues of Cities, Municipalities, Barangays and Provinces on various dates beginning January 2010 and uncovered that from January to June 2009 only four rainwater collectors were built.
The mandate of the creation of the project was enumerated under Republic Act 6716.
LPP insisted that Section 5 of Republic Act 6716 is unconstitutional as it directs and compels local government units to automatically allocate a portion of its funds annually for the implementation of this law.
The provision, the petitioner said, violates the 1987 Constitution, which ensures autonomy of local governments as well as fiscal independence.
Furthermore, the LPP said the effectivity of RA 6716 had long lapsed because Section 5 specifically stated that “the total program shall be completed not later than June 30, 1991.”
"Respondent LPP admits that the intent of RA 6716 is laudable. Unfortunately, the law itself violates the clear mandate of the Constitution and the basic autonomy law, the Local Government Code,” the LPP said.
The LPP also noted that the petitioners failed to send a demand letter to the respective leagues, a legal remedy it should have taken prior to the filing of the petition before the SC.
“On this premise alone, this petition should be dismissed for the failure of petitioners to exhaust all available legal remedies before going to Court, and with such deliberate failure to exhaust this remedy,” said petitioners.
Aside from the leagues of LGUs, GLACC named Malacanang, the Department of Public Works and Highways and Department of Interior and Local Government as respondents in the petition.
The SC earlier directed all the respondents to submit their comments to the petition filed by GLACC.
GLACC’s was the first petition to ever invoke the writ of Kalikasan, one of the provisions under the newly promulgated Rules of Procedure for Environmental cases adopted by the high court to facilitate the expeditious resolution of environmental cases.
The group accused the respondents of “gross negligence in the performance of public duty” because out of 100,000 rainwater catchments required by the law to be completed in 1991, the DPWH has only completed four. (JCV/Sunnex)