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Miners want to answer mining foes in SC


Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno: Motion for intervention. INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court will resume Tuesday hearing oral arguments on the petitions against the Mining Act of 1995 as retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno and retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza asked the high court to allow the Chamber of Mines to intervene and take part in the proceedings.

Puno and Mendoza serve as counsel for the Chamber of Mines, a group of mining companies opposed to two petitions filed by former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros, other lawmakers and residents of some Mindanao provinces.

In their two petitions, Hontiveros’ group challenged the constitutionality of Sections 80 and 81 of Republic Act No. 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, as well as administrative orders issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The petitions said the two sections of the Mining Act were unconstitutional because they allowed for the inequitable sharing of wealth from mining, especially for the government, and the government share was limited to excise taxes. At present, the government takes a limited share of the revenue from mining contracts—a two-percent excise tax and five-percent royalty.

Second round

The high court is set to resume Tuesday the second round of oral arguments on the Anti-Mining Act petitions two months after it first held a hearing in Baguio City on April 16.

In a three-page motion for intervention filed on June 19, the Chamber of Mines sought to intervene and participate in the oral arguments but asked the high court to hold it “sometime in August 2013.”

The chamber’s motion for intervention cited the absence of Mendoza, who will argue for the chamber. Mendoza had to go abroad and “will not be back until the end of July,” it said.

It also asked the high court to admit its comment in intervention.

In its 38-page comment in intervention, the Chamber of Mines asked for the dismissal of the petitions for certiorari and prohibition filed by Hontiveros and her copetitioners, citing three reasons.

These were: That the arguments raised by petitioners had already been passed upon and disposed of against petitioners in the case La Bugal-B’laan Tribal Association v Ramos, which the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling; that the high court should stand by its ruling here; and that the legislative and executive branches should decide on the question of what is an equitable revenue sharing from mining.

Landmark ruling

The landmark ruling of the Supreme Court had to do with a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) that then President Fidel Ramos had entered into with an Australian company.

On Jan. 27, 2004, the high court struck down major provisions of the Mining Law for violating the Constitution, which requires that the state should have full control and supervision of the development of natural resources.

But on Dec. 1, 2004, the high court reversed its ruling and upheld the law, regulations and FTAAs, provided that full control remained with the President.

“The Honorable Court should stand by its prior decision in La Bugal B’laan. In accordance with Article 8 of the Civil Code, the decision in La Bugal B’laan is not only ‘the law of the case,’ but the law,” the chamber said.

The chamber also said the petitioners had not shown any compelling reason to abandon the La Bugal B’laan case as it described their arguments to be a “mere rehash of those already overruled” in the same case.

It also held that there was no actual case or controversy in which to relitigate the case and that petitioners did not complain that they had been injured because of these provisions.

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Tags: chamber of mines , Mining Act of 1995 , Mining and quarrying , Risa Hontiveros , supreme court

  • DGuardian

    Para man lamang sa delicadeza, dapat ay hindi tinanggap nina former Supreme Court Justice Reynato Puno at former Supreme Court Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza ang pagiging legal counsels ng Chamber of Mines kahit na nga daang milyones pa ang ibinayad na legal fees ng mga ito. Dati silang naging mataas na mga personahe ng Korte Suprema. Kahit na sabihing pulos anti-Filipinos ang bulk ng mga desisyon nila noon, hindi pa rin tama na sila ang maging advocates ng mga kalaban ng interests ng Pilipinas at ng mga Pilipino. Mataas ang edukasyon at naging posisyon sa gobyerno at lipunan ng dalawang abugadong ito. Sa kanilang angking katalinuhan, imposible na hindi nila natatanto o nararating ng comprehension at matuwid na masyadong unfair, unequal at unjust ang 7% na excise tax na sinisingil ng goyerno sa mining at ang 97% na profits ng mga mining companies.

    Ang Philippine government ay siya lamang pinaka-representative ng Filipino people sa transaction between the government and the mining companies. Kung ang Pamahalaan ay merely acting on behalf of the Filipino people, bakit niya pinababayaang malugi at mawalan ng napakalaking shares ang sambayanang Pilipino at ang mga local at foreign companies naman ang siyang makinabang, yumaman at maging mga multi-milyonaryo at bilyonaryo? Panahon ni Gloria Arroyo na-reversed ng Supreme Court noong Deceber 1, 2004 ang una nitong ruling na nag-a-uphold sa provision ng Constitution na “the state should have full control and supervision of the development of the natural resources”. Alam naman natin na noon ay kontrolado ni Arroyo ang Supreme Court. This time, sana ay patunayan naman ng ating mga Associate Justices at ng Chief Justice ng Korte Suprema ang kanilang tunay na pagmamahal at malasakit sa ating bayan at sa mga Pilipino.

  • DGuardian

    Maigagawa ng comparison si Edward Snowden at ang mga Justices natin sa Supreme Court. Si Snowden ay 29 anyos lamang at nag-drop out mula sa high school kung kaya’t hindi nahubog o napanday ang kanyang kaisipan at pagkatao ng edukasyon. Ang mga Justices natin sa Supreme Court ay nakarating at nakatungtong sa universidad at nakatapos pa ng masters o doctorates at nasa edad na dapat ay punung-puno ng mga natatanging wisdom, noble thoughts, at mataas na antas ng pagkatao at kaisipan. Magkaiba ang mga levels o antas ng narating o accomplishments, experiences, circumstances at lessons sa buhay ni Snowden at ng mga Justices natin sa Korte Suprema, subali’t magkapareho sila sa isang bagay. Walang pagmamahal at pagmamalasakit si Snowden sa mga kababayang Amerikano at sa America samantalang wala ding pagmamahal at pagmamalasakit ang mga Justices natin sa mga Pilipino at sa Pilipinas. Sana naman ay gumawa kayo ng kagitingan na sasagip sa ating bayan mula sa kapahamakan at sa pagkaubos ng ating mga likas na yaman na mga local and foreign companies lamang ang nakikinabang imbes na ang sambayanang Pilipino.

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