Court Denies Appeals of Pandacan Order

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The Philippine Supreme Court last week dismissed oil company motions to reconsider or amend a November order for them to vacate a major petroleum products terminal in Manila. The courts order calls for Petron, Shell and Chevron to leave the Pandacan depot by mid-July.

Voting 11-2 during an en banc session on March 10, the High Court affirmed its previous ruling declaring Manila City Ordinance 8187 unconstitutional. The ordinance allowed the oil companies to continue operation of the Pandacan depot.

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The court pointed out that its decision is clear and that it was the City Ordinance No. 8187 that had been declared unconstitutional and invalid as far as the continued stay of the Pandacan oil terminal is concerned, court spokesperson Theodore Te said.

Last month, Shell filed a motion for reconsideration asking for permission to present experts who would testify that the oil depot does not constitute a security risk.

But Te said Shells motion was denied because the reasons presented have been decided upon by the court.

Chevron, which halted operations by mid-2014 but still occupies the depot, had asked the court to clarify whether it could remain at the depot. Te said that request was also turned down because the court did not agree with the companys position to withdraw its products but remain at the depot.

Finally, the court also denied Petrons request for a separate January 2016 deadline to leave the depot.

The court said the timelines prescribed in the ruling shall be observed to the letter.

In its November ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the three oil companies to submit to the Manila Regional Trial Court within 45 days a comprehensive relocation plan. It also required that they complete their relocations not later than six months from that mid-January deadline. None of the companies met the January deadline.