TRO on 10-centavo levy per liter on oil stays – CA
The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the ruling of a trial court that stopped temporarily the government from imposing a 10-centavo levy per liter on oil delivered and transshipped by petroleum marine transport companies.
Republic Act No. 9483 or the Oil Pollution Compensation Act of 2007 and its implementing rules and regulations basically imposes a 10-centavo levy per liter on oil transshipped by
marine transport firms. The levy will go to the Oil Pollution Management Fund.
In a resolution written by Associate Justice Maria Elisa Sempio Diy, the CA denied the petition of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and two other agencies to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued on July 25, 2016 by the Quezon City regional trial court (RTC).
The CA ruled that the DOTr, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) failed to present justifiable reason to lift the TRO and grant an injunctive relief.
It pointed out that under the rules, an injunctive relief like a TRO could be issued if an applicant has “a clear and unmistakable right to be protected, there is material and substantial invasion of right, there is an urgent need for the writ to prevent irreparable injury to the applicant, and no other ordinary, speedy and adequate remedy exists to prevent irreparable injury.”
No irreparable injury
“Here, there is no showing of a clear right which was violated or what ‘irreparable injury’ petitioners would stand to suffer aside from their general allegation that prevention from discharging their duty and responsibility under Republic Act No. 9483 would cause ‘public inconvenience’ or result in ‘public mischief’ at the expense of the environment,” the CA said.
The RTC’s TRO granted the plea filed by the Philippine Sea Transport Association, Herma Shipping and Transport Corporation, Islas Tankers Seatransport Corporation, MIS Maritime Corporation, Petrolift, Inc., Golden Albatross Shipping Corporation, Via Marine Corporation and Cargo Marine Corporation.
The petroleum marine transport firms earlier asked the RTC to stop the DOTr, Marina and PCG from enforcing Section 22, paragraph (a) of RA 9483 and Section 1, Rule X of the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations on the 10-centavo levy per liter of oil delivered by the marine transport firms.
With the issuance of the TRO, the three government agencies led by the DOTr elevated the issue before the CA which turned down their plea for an injunctive relief.