SC junks Erice’s plea

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The Supreme Court (SC) has junked a petition filed by a lawmaker critical of Vice President Jejomar Binay and supposed supporters of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, finding them liable for violating Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) restrictions by going beyond mining extraction limits in Barangay La Fraternidad, Tubay, Agusan del Norte.

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A recent decision of the SC 2nd Division penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo upheld a ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has the right to revoke the ECCs of small-scale mining companies that violate extraction policies.

It denied the petition filed by SR Metals Inc. (SRMI), San R Mining and Construction Corp. and Galeo Equipment Mining Corp. Inc. questioning the CA ruling that they violated the ECC restrictions by over-extracting.

Rep. Edgar Erice of Caloocan City (Metro Manila) was the chairman and president of SRMI at the time that a complaint for plunder against him and his two business partners was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman by Butuan City businessman Rodney Basiana.

Erice is a stalwart of the Liberal Party and has been in the forefront of the administration party’s perceived attacks against Vice President Jejomar Binay over alleged irregularities.

His business partners Miguel Alberto Gutierrez and Eric Gutierrez are known close political supporters and financial contributors to the campaign kitties of both the President and Roxas.

Court records showed that Erice, the Gutierrezes and several others have a pending case, since 2007, before the Ombudsman for plunder and theft in connection with operations of SRMI in Agusan del Norte.

On November 26, 2004, then Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes issued a cease and desist order against SMRI, San R and Galeo, suspending their operations.
The Environment department sets at 50,000 metric tons as the extraction limit.

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