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West Tower Condominium Corp vs.

First Philippine Industrial Corp


Topic: Nature and purpose of Environmental Law in the Philippines (PERO WALA SA
CASE -_-)

Facts:
 Case was filed against First Philippine Industrial Corp (FPIC) following
the leak in the oil pipeline it owned.
 FPIC owns to pipelines;
o ( 1) the White Oil Pipeline (WOPL) which transport and transports
diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and kerosene from Batangas to the
Pandacan Terminal in Manila
o (b) the Black Oil Pipeline (BOPL) System which transports bunker
fuel from Batangas to Paranaque
 Petitioner suspected a leakage as it started to smell gas in the
condominium.
 They then discovered the leak in the basement. Which compelled condo
residents to abandon their units and the condo’s power to shut down.
 FPIC admitted that it owns the pipeline but blamed it on the construction
activities surrounding the WestTower
 Petition filed for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan and argued that FPIC
failed to timely replace and exercise due diligence.
 Court issued the Writ with a Temporary Environmental Protection Order
(TEPO) which enjoined FPIC from using its leaked pipeline.
 Case was remanded to CA and CA gave recommendations.
 Petitioners were not satisfied with CA’s recommendations and filed a
partial MR.

Issues:

1. Whether petitioner West Tower Corp. has the legal capacity to represent the other
petitioners and whether the other petitioners, apart from the residents of West Tower
and Barangay Bangkal, are real parties-in-interest;

2. Whether a Permanent Environmental Protection Order (PEPO) should be issued to


direct the respondents to perform or to desist from performing acts in order to protect,
preserve, and rehabilitate the affected environment;

3. Whether a special trust fund should be opened by respondents to answer for future
similar contingencies; and
4. Whether FGC and the directors and officers of respondents FPIC and FGC may be
held liable under the environmental protection order

Ruling:

1. Petitioners who were residents of West Tower and Barangay Bangkal are real parties
in interest and West Tower represents their common interest. Hence, West Tower has
legal capacity/standing.

2. The Court adopts the recommendation prescribed by CA which ordered FPIC to


secure from the Department of Energy (DOE) a certification and will only decide
depending on the results of further tests conducted on the pipeline.

-in the dissent of Justice Leonen: The precautionary principle only applies when
the link between the cause, that is the human activity sought to be inhibited, and the
effect, that is the damage to the environment, cannot be established with full scientific
certainty.

3. Creation of a Trust Fund is misplaced as it is requested for similar future


contingencies which is outside the limited purpose of a special trust fund under the RoP
for Environmental Cases.
4. Court will not rule on the alleged liability on the part of the FPIC and FGC officials
which can, however, be properly resolved in the civil and criminal cases now pending
against them.

The Motion for Reconsideration with Motion for Clarification is PARTLY GRANTED.

Other matters:
-DENR is the government agency tasked to implement the state policy of "maintaining a
sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing the quality of the
environment" and to "promulgate rules and regulations for the control of water, air, and
land pollution."It is indubitable that the DENR has jurisdiction in overseeing and
supervising the environmental remediation of Barangay Bangkal, which is adversely
affected by the leak in the WOPL in 2010.