The Supreme Court on Wednesday has affirmed its March 7, 2007 ruling ordering the relocation of oil terminals in Pandacan in Manila.
In a 78-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Renato Corona, the Court denied the motions for reconsideration filed by the country's big oil companies Chevron (formerly Caltex), Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Energy who intervened in the case. The case was originally filed by political party Social Justice Society and Manila residents against then Manila city Mayor Lito Atienza.
The SC was not convinced by the oil companies' argument that they stand to lose billions of pesos if forced to relocate. SC spokesman Midas Marquez said that based on the hierarchy of constitutionally-protected rights, the right to life enjoys precedence over right to property. The Court even used as an example the recent oil tanker blaze that happened in Nagtahan flyover in Manila where one died and many vehicles were destroyed. The SC said the situation could have been worse if it happened inside the depot.
The Court gave oil companies 90 days to submit to a Manila Regional Trial Court a comprehensive plan and relocation schedule. It also gave the "Big 3" five years to implement the relocation plan. The SC decision, however, is not yet final and executory. Oil companies have 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration since they are intervenors in this case and were not part of the original pleading.
The Manila city government can also come up with a new ordinance to supersede City Ordinance 8027 which supports the reclassification of Pandacan from an industrial to a residential zone.
Report from Marieton Pacheco, ABS-CBN News