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Court of Appeals stops LLDA from taking over garbage contractor's Taguig facility.

The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to vacate a lakeside property along C6 Road, Taguig City and return possession of the same to solid waste contractor IPM Construction and Development Corporation (IPM).

In a six-page resolution dated August 29, 2018 and penned by Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla of the CA's Special 14th Division, the appellate court likewise barred LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina and other officers, agents and staff "from interfering, dispossesing and intruding" with IPM's right over the aforesaid property until final resolution of the case.

The case stemmed from a petition filed by IPM against LLDA after the latter closed down and seized control of a 22-hectare property leased by the company for its garbage transfer station and materials recovery facility along C6 Road, Barangay Calzada, Taguig City. LLDA claimed that IPM - the authorized garbage contractor of Taguig City - is engaged in garbage dumping and illegal reclamation in the shores of Laguna de Bay, a claim that the company vehemently denies.

In a statement, IPM welcomed the CA's injunction order. The company maintained that it has not violated and has faithfully complied with environmental laws, rules and regulations. It added that the operation of its Materials Recovery Facility and Transfer Station is covered by required permits and licenses.

"LLDA itself, in a Cease and Desist Order [CDO] issued on June 13, 2018, did not make any findings as to alleged dumping of garbage in the C6 area occupied by IPM. There is also no backfilling nor reclamation going on in IPM's property," the company stressed.

IPM insisted that LLDA cannot use the CDO as a cover to land grab. "This is what LLDA did to IPM. Faced with an abusive show of force by LLDA when it took over, dispossessed and effectively deprived IPM of the pursuit of its lawful operations, the company simply availed of a remedy available to it under the law. Where else will IPM seek refuge against this act of LLDA except to resort to the courts?"

The company said its CA petition puts the spotlight on whether LLDA has the power and authority to seize and take over IPM's property. "IPM questioned LLDA's jurisdiction because IPM's leased property is titled under the Torrens System which LLDA cannot collaterally attack by simply claiming that it is part of the shoreland and forcibly ousting IPM thereto. Thus, the CA correctly ruled that pending resolution of conflicting claims, the parties should maintain the status quo - the last peaceable and uncontested status - in this case, IPM being in peaceful possession of the C6 property," the company added.

Following the court ruling, IPM said LLDA - as a government agency - should be the first to show respect to the Courts and faithfully comply with the CA's lawful order. (MBM)


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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Sep 5, 2018
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