Press Release
August 14, 2006


Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago today called on the Senate to investigate the reported takeover by government agencies of the operations of the San Fernando seaport from the Poro Point Industrial Corporation.

The takeover was reportedly orchestrated by the DENR Environmental Bureau, the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC). According to media reports, the takeover was effected with the use of arms and violence by government operatives, and in defiance of a temporary restraining order issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando.

Santiago said the incidence of violence and apparent brutal flouting of the rule of law occurring in the San Fernando seaport is indicative of a police state or a military state.

Until the present time, representatives from the BCDA, PPMC, and PPA reportedly continue to defy the TRO by relying on the presence of armed Coast Guards and PNP personnel at the San Fernando port.

In a Resolution filed today, Santiago urged the Senate committee on environment and natural resources to inquire into the continued open defiance of the concerned government agencies of a valid and existing TRO issued by a court of justice, in order to emphasize the principle of judicial supremacy and the rule of law.

According to the senator, the court order does not appear to be prohibited by Presidential Decree No. 605, which bans the issuance by courts of preliminary injunctions in cases of permits issued by public administrative officials, because PD No. 605 refers only to the exploitation of natural resources.

The senator said neither does the TRO appear to fall under the prohibition of Presidential Decree No. 1818, which involves only the operation of a public utility operated by the government.

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