Diokno slammed the Government on secret talks with his clients, "Mukhang na-Recto 22 na naman ang mga Pilipino”

Chel Diokno Photo from abs-cbn (ctto)

MANILA, Philippines — Former Otso derecho senatorial bet Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, a human rights lawyer who represents a group of fishermen who are seeking for an environmental protection order from the Supreme Court.

Diokno accused the government of talking to his clients behind his back to get them to withdraw the case.

“It is not only suspicious that the government secretly talked to our clients, that also violates legal ethics,” Diokno said.

"Mukhang na-Recto 22 na naman ang mga Pilipino” (It seems Filipinos had another Recto-22) he added.

The petition was filed in the Supreme Courts last April 16, to appeal to the government to enforce the July 2016 UN arbitral court ruling against China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea, including parts of the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ), whose resources are exclusively reserved for Filipinos by the Constitution.

Moreover, The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) filed the petition for a writ of kalikasan, as well.

The Writ of Kalikasan claims the marine environment in and around these reefs has been destroyed by China’s reclamation and poaching activities.

Diokno insisted on Wednesday that these fishermen were the ones who petitioned for a writ of kalikasan “with full knowledge and consent, because all they want is to fish in our own seas and to earn enough to support their families.”

He complained that after a lawyer for the Philippine Navy talked to his clients, the fishermen, they withdrew the petition and denied participation in the case.

“As one of the lawyers in this case, I am more concerned about the safety of our fishermen. The Duterte administration showed that nothing could get in its way. I hope they use that power to protect their fellow Filipinos,” he said.

Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday announced that the petitioners were withdrawing from the writ of kalikasan case filed on their behalf by the IBP.

Calida asked the magistrates to dismiss the case upon presenting the fishermen’s sworn statements and showed in court a taped interview of the group’s leaders, Monico Abogado and Roberto Asiado, who said they were “deceived” into signing the petition.

Abogado’s sworn statement in Filipino as follows: “This is a big deception and manipulation of our association. We attest that we have no knowledge about this petition filed against agencies of the government. We don’t know anything about this and we don’t support the petition filed.”

However, Diokno told the magistrates that the three of the fishermen and insisted that they insisted to act as petitioners.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin suspended Tuesday’s proceedings and called all the lawyers to a conference. Associate Justice Marvic Leonen announced to suspend the proceedings and give both parties time to explore the filing of a joint motion in the premises and given until Friday to do so.

Calida requested for dismissal of the petition because it meant to compel the government to confront China with the arbitral award, which the President postponed in order to have a better relations and investments from China.

“Since it is China which caused the environmental degradation, then the remedy falls within foreign relations,” Calida added

The arbitral tribunal in The Hague ruled that China’s historical claims were baseless under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its EEZ.

Source: Inquirer

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