Monday, June 2, 2014

Marinduque's Nevada Case: Who stands to personally gain by resorting to Rogue, bizzare tactics?

A comment post appeared today on my Facebook account as follows, in response to earlier posts made here: 

"Isabel P. Ball If the SP has voted to reject the settlement way since Oct. 2013, why are we still talking about renegotiation, instead of moving ahead with a new course of action? Some oddities that alerts a thinking mind about the settlement: The U.S. court has instructed the parties Barrick and Marinduque to mediate, then seemingly takes it back in favor of Barrick that now holds a trump card that is the Kiobel Precedent. What this is basically ending the courts of the U.S. to accept any foreign cases for litigation that did not happen anywhere in the U.S. Our Counsels did a poor job of explaining to the government about Kiobel Precedent, so much to inform them and the people, or that the government had been secretive about it.
First time I heard it was during a heated conference of CSOs and the government, not before the strong public protest and talks about taking the case all the way for trial. If Barrick had the advantage of the Kiobel Precedent, why did they have to offer the $20M and the hosts of lopsided conditions? Allan Nepo claimed that the SP has already made a position to reject the settlement, why did they have to call for a Dec. 18, 2013, "take it or leave it session? It is my conjecture that the settlement was provided to the SP for preview and final review, then on Dec. 18, 2013, it was made public ready for decision to be accepted by the SP. And the people via CSOs were prompted to protest to the SP from accepting the deal as it is? Whoa, there's so much to regurgitate and comprehend yet to make for truth to distill."

This settlement has had several deadlines after supposedly having been rejected several times by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, prompting provincial board member Allan Nepomuceno during the March 24, 2014, protest rally in Boac to declare thus:

"Huwag na po nating gambalain ang ating mga isip ngayon kung ito’y tatanggapin ng Pamahalaang Panlalawigan. Hindi po! Muli po naming inuulit sa inyo October 2 pa lamang, nagsampa ng Resolusyon ang Sangguniang Panlalawigan, isinusuka po itong mga ibinibigay sa atin..."
"Ako po’y naririto ngayon bagamat wala siya, ako po ang magsasabi sa inyo – tumututol po ang Sangguniang Panlalawigan, ang Pamahalaang Panlalawigan, ang atin pong mahal na Gobernador ay hindi po makakapayag na lolokohin po ang taongbayan ng Marinduque."
("Let us not bother our minds now whether this will be accepted by the Provincial Government. No! We would like to repeat to you, as early as October 2, we have adopted a Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution, that we have vomited these that they are offering to us..."
"I am here today although she (Governor) is not here: I am the one who am telling you - the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is against it, the Provincial Government, our dear Governor cannot allow the people of Marinduque to be fooled."

But why is it that this deal that has been junked refuses to die, not accepting its fate? Are there personalities who stand to personally gain by a settlement that they must resort to rogue and bizaare tactics to get what they want? Not providing evidence to some of their claims, apparently aimed to hoodwink a people into allowing their throats to be rammed down with what they've already vomitted?


More excerpts from the video of Atty. Harry Roque's meeting with stakeholders, March 13, 2014 at the Session Hall, Provincial Capitol of Marinduque. It was announced that there was an "Order of the Court" fixing a new deadline on March 16, 2014.


Tanong ni Seno: 
Alam naman po natin na ang aming mga gustong mangyari dito ay maayos yung settlement agreement, sapagkat hindi naman po talaga katanggap-tanggap ‘yung mga gustong kondisyones…ito pong lahat ay pawang kabulastugan, puro kasinungalingan na talagang pagdidiin sa mga karapatang pantao ng mga taga lalawigan ng Marinduque...Gusto po naming malaman kung ito po ba ay magkakaroon ng negosasyong muli sapagkat sa akin pong desisyon, kung hindi po magkakameron ng magandang usapan sa kondisyones na hinihingi ng Barrick, ako po ay tahasang sinasabi ko po na hindi ko po matatanggap ang offer ng Barrick Gold…
(Bokal Seno is asking if the terms and conditions could still be renegotiated...)

Sagot ni Roque: (Roque's answer)
Madali naman po masagot yung tanong ninyo e. Gaya ng sinabi ko po, bagama’t ang Order ng Korte ay meron tayong deadline ng (Marso) 16 na matutuloy, dahil dumaan na po tayo sa proseso ng mediation, yung halaga po ay nakapako na po yun. Ang puwede sigurong pag-usapan, yung lenguahe. 
(It's easy to answer your question. As I've said, although the Order of the Court is that we have a deadline on the 16th which will push through, because we have undergone the process of mediation, the amount is already fixed. What could be talked about perhaps, is the language).
Pero kaya po nang kahit anong compromise agreement dito sa ating bayan. Ang murder po o patayan pinagbabawal po ‘yan ng batas, pero alam po natin merong mga settlement na nangyayari. Ang dahilan kaya nadi-dismiss ang kaso ng murder na nagkaron ng kasunduan ay hindi dahil nagkaron ng kasunduan. Ang dahilan na lumalabas sa korte ay ‘yung inability ng prosecution na mag-proceed dahil ayaw nang magdemanda yung private complainant. So kapag nag-book for dismissal, hindi dahil nagkaroon ng compromise dahil ito po’y pinagbabawal, hindi puwedeng magkaroon ng compromise sa mga kriminal. 
(But it could be done like other compromise agreements in our country. Murder or killings are against the law, but we all know that settlements do happen. The reason why cases are dismissed in murder cases where there has been an agreement is not because there was an agreement. The reason that happens in the court is the inability of the prosecution to proceed, because the complainant does not want to file the case. So if a case is booked for dismissal, it is not because there is a compromise because this is prohibited, there can be no compromise with criminals.)
Ang dahilan po ay inability to prosecute. So, tandaan po natin, na pagdating sa kahit anong compromise agreement tulad dun sa Center for Constitutional Rights ng New York ay wala po talagang lenguahe yan na nagsasabing umaamin sila… Talaga pong ang mga abogado ay merong mga lenguaheng ginagamit para ma-facilitate ang settlement at yun naman po ay binigyan din ng basbas nung batikang mediator. 
(The reason is the inability to prosecute. So, remember this, when it comes to any compromise agreement like there, at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, there is really no language that states they admit (to liabilities).. It is a fact that lawyers use their own language to facilitate the settlement and (in this case) a veteran mediator also gave his blessings).
Pero naiintindihan ko po naman ang sentimyento ng ating mga bokal. Siguro po sa lenguahe, puwede pong pag-usapan, pero yung halaga po napako. Kaya lamang po ang sinasabi ko po ay asahan ninyo po na bagamat merong option na tanggihan itong twenty million, wala na po kayong aasahan sa korte sa Amerika.
(But I do understand the sentiments of the provincial board members. Maybe as far as the language is concerned, that could be discussed, but as for the amount, that has been nailed. But what I am saying is that you can expect that although there is an option to reject this twenty million, you can not hope for anything from the court in the US)
Pupuwede po kayong pumunta sa Canada, magsisimula po kayo dun, pero … (inaudible) kaya hindi po kami nagpunta dun na kaunaunahang pagkakataon para pong Pilipinas yan. Napakaliit ng danyos na ibinibigay. At gaya po ng Amerika meron ding desisyon ang Korte Suprema ng Canada, na bagamat ang kumpanya ay Canadian, dahil ang Canada ngayon ang pinakamaraming kumpanya ng mining na nag-ooperate overseas, ang sabi ng kanilang Korte Suprema, “kung hindi nangyari sa Canada, hindi rin pupuwedeng magdemanda sa Canada”.
(You can go to Canada, you can make a start there, but (inaudible) that's why we did not go there in the first instance because it's just like the Philippines. They grant very little damages. And just like the US there is also a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, that although the company is Canadian, because Canada today has the biggest number of mining companies operating overseas, their Supreme Court has stated, " if it did not happen in Canada, one cannot also file a case in Canada")
So base po sa jurisprudence ng Canada, hindi na rin kayo pupuwedeng pumunta ng Canada… Now kung sa Pilipinas po, e pano ninyo madedemanda ang Barrick, wala naman dito ang Barrick. Ang madedemanda ninyo talaga ay ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas. At itong compromise agreement naman pong ito, wala pong quitclaim laban sa gobyerno ng Pilipinas, wala pong quitclaim laban sa Marcopper. 
(So, based on the jurisprudence in Canada, you cannot take it up with Canada... Now if the Philippines (is the option), how can you file a case against Barrick when Barrick is not here. The entity you can really file a case against is the Philippine government. And in this compromise agreement, there is no quitclaim against the government of the Philippines, there is no quitclaim against Marcopper.)
Ang Marcopper po buhay pa rin. Puwede pang idimanda! Ang nagbibigay lang ng quitclaim ay para dun sa Barrick, yung investor na pumasok dun sa dating nagmamay-ari ng Marcopper. Pero yung Marcopper, bilang isang korporasyon dito sa Pilipinas, buhay pa rin siya at pupuwede pa ring mapanagot kasama po ang gobyerno natin ng national government.
(Marcopper is still alive. Cases could still be filed. Quitclaim (here) is for Barrick, the investor who came into the former owner/s of Marcopper. But Marcopper, as a corporation here in the Philippines, still exists and could be held liable together with our government, the national government).
Roque's reply to Seno's follow-up question:
Ang aking tingin ang non-negotiable, yung halaga. Lahat naman yan namamasahe sa tingin ko. Pero ang malinaw na malinaw yung halaga, non-negotiable,  kasi lumabas na nga yung decision ng Kiobel. Kung bubuksan muli yung halaga ang mangyayari diyan babawiin nila yung halaga. Kaya lang hindi nila mabawi dahil dumaan sa proseso ng mediation. Pero kung sa (inaudible) yan, umaasa naman ako na siguro naman pagbibigyan yan, para lang magkaron naman ng record sa kasaysayan kung ano talaga yung nangyari rito sa probinsya ng Marinduque.
 (In my view the amount is non-negotiable. But all these things could be massage-d in my view. But what is clear is that the amount is non-negotiable, because of the decision made on Kiobel. If the amount would be taken up again, what will happen is that they will just withdraw the amount. The reason why they cannot withdraw it now is because it went through the mediation process. But if (inaudible), I am hopeful that they will grant that, if only to have on historical record what really happened here in the province of Marinduque.)
Question from Liga President, Konsehal Opis, Boac:
Gusto ko lang pong malaman kung matutukay po tayo dun sa deadline ng March 16 at may extension po bang ibibigay. At yun pong nilalakad natin for reconsideration, ilalatag pa po ba ito sa amin, sa bawat..every town po sa Marinduque...
(I want to know if the March 16 deadline is pushing through and will an extension be given.. and what we are requesting for reconsideration, will that be laid down to us, in every town of Marinduque...?)
Roque: Ang sagot ko po ay, hindi po gaya dito sa Pilipinas, seryoso po ang mga Amerikano sa kanilang mga legal na proseso. Sa ayaw at sa gusto natin, kinakailangan po tayong sumunod. Kapag hindi po natin tinanggap, ang ibig sabihin, rejected, okey? Pag tinanggap natin, accepted. At gaya ng nasabi ko kanina, hindi ko alam kung ano ang gagawin ng mga Amerikanong abogado dahil ako naman ay abogado lamang dito sa Pilipinas at ang aking partisipasyon ay bilang expert witness sa larangan ng International Environmental Law. 
(My answer is, unlike here in the Philippines, Americans take their legal process seriously. Whether we like it or not, we have to follow. If we do not accept, that means, "rejected", okey? If we take it, "accepted". Like what I said earlier, I do not know what the American lawyers will do because I am just a lawyer here in the Philippines and my participation is as an expert witness in the field of international environmental law). 
 Pero naiisip ko po ay ipararatingin sa Korte na nakapako ang halaga pero kahilingang oras para dun sa lenguahe...
(But I am thinking, to inform the Court that the amount is fixed, but more time needed for the language...).
Pero siguro naman kung malaman ng Barrick na wala ng usap sa halaga ay hindi naman tututol 'yan pagdating dun sa mga terms and conditions. Dahil sa kanila naman importante kung magkano. Pero speculation ko lang po 'yan. Yun po yung.. nag-eespeculate pa lamang po ako diyan pero hindi po ako sigurado, Pero sa tingin ko po naman ay yun naman po ay yan naman po ang mangyayari.
(But maybe if Barrick learns that there is no more question about the amount they will not refuse when it comes to the terms and conditions. What is important to them is the amount. But I am speculating on that.. That is... I am speculating on that but I am not sure. But in my view that is what will happen.)  



Comment ni Roque on Attorney Reda: 
Bago po tayo magtanong no, dun po sa katanungan kung paanong magagastos yung pera, si Attorney Reda po, yung kasamang abogado ni Attorney Skip ay meron na pong sinulat na artikulo sa University of California’s Berkeley Worldview (?) at ito po ang naging dahilan para bigyan siya ng award ng American Association ng Environmental Award dahil siya po yung nagdebuho ng konsepto kung paanong magagastos yung twenty million. Magkakaroon po kayo ng board of trustees na siyang mag-aapruba ng mga proyekto na makukuha dito sa perang ito…Ang akin naman pong pangako sa inyo, ipaglalaban ko po na dun sa board na yun, may representante ang civil society, kung pupuwede pa po may representante rin siguro po ang Unyon para kasama po sila doon sa decision making process kung paano gagastusin ang pondong ito.
(Before we proceed with the questions, on the matter concerning how the money will be used, Attorney Reda, the partner of Attorney Skip has written an article for the University of California's Berkeley Worldview and this is the reason why she was given an award by the American Association, an environmental award because it was her who designed the concept on how the twenty million should be spent. You will have a board of trustees who will approve projects funded from this money. What I can promise you is that, I will fight for the inclusion of civil society in that board, and if still possible there should be a representative from the (Labor) Union as part of the decision making process on how the money should be spent.)

Kagawad ng Laylay: 
Kasama po ba sa kasunduan na ito yung pagpirma ay mag-oopen muli ang Marcopper?
(Is the re-opening of Marcopper part of the agreement?)
Hindi po. Yan ang malinaw na malinaw. Hindi po. At doon sa teyoryang nabubuo para sa Unyon ay ang Unyon ang magdedecide kung ano ang mangyayari sa Marcopper. Yan ang ating pangako sa inyo.
(No Sir! That is what is very very clear. No Sir. And on the evolving theory for the (Labor) Union, it is the Union that will decide what should happen to Marcopper. That is what I can promise you).

Isabel Ball of HELM Marinduque, an NGO, introduces herself..

Roque interrupts Ball:
I think I read an article in the Inquirer, were you the one who wrote the article?
Mrs. Ball: 
No I haven’t done that…
Roque:
 I read an article in the Inquirer and I presented it to the conference that I attended. I told the participants in the South African Conference,  that I’m sure the (inaudible) of the deal will go to them because there was EarthRights, there was Greenpeace and I explained to the conference why as far as the group experts that are (inaudible) to give its testimony but who also attended the mediation in Hongkong, in Las Vegas and San Francisco, why we think it's the only deal for the province..

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