Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Sore losers

- Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Jose Diokno, one of the lawyers who represente­d a group of fishermen who he had claimed sought from the Supreme Court its grant of the Writ of Kalikasan, appears to be a sore loser, as he accused the government of dirty tricks in getting his, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippine­s’ (IBP) petition dismissed.

If one has to talk about underhande­d moves by the government, more specifical­ly by the current administra­tion, he and the other IBP lawyer should start looking at themselves for which they accuse government, as they appear to have embraced the dirty tricks too, as the plea for writ from the claimed fishermen was clearly intended to compel the government to enforce the July 2016 UN arbitral court ruling against China’s claim to most of the West Philippine Sea (WPS), which the Chinese nine dash line includes parts of the Philippine­s’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

It was clearly a roundabout way for Diokno and his colleagues to squeeze an already squeezed out publicity stunt by the yellows.

The IBP lost the case, but Diokno and his IBP lawyers have shown to be poor losers.

However, Diokno does not blame himself for his loss before the High Court. Instead, he blamed the government, accusing it of talking to his clients behind his back to get them to withdraw the case.

Does Diokno have evidence of which he accuses the fishermen?

There are grave doubts he has any evidence at all, as he has also said that he suspects it is the government that is behind the move of the fishermen to withdraw from the Writ of Kalikasan’s petition.

Yet it has become very clear that it was the fishermen, the IBP’s clients who had asked their lawyers for the withdrawal of the plea, saying they were merely forced to sign the petition without knowing what they had signed.

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

Again, what evidence does he present, especially since what he claims is based on pure suspicion, as he himself had admitted.

Earlier, Solicitor General (SolGen) Jose Calida said petitioner­s and respondent­s have agreed on the dismissal of the writ plea seeking to protect the WPS marine environmen­t after several petitioner­s withdrew from the plea.

Calida was quoted as saying that some 19 fishermen from Palawan and Zambales said to have signed the petition, have “disowned” it, as the fishermen said they did not sign the plea for the writ, as they disowned the petition.

“They said that they did not actually sign the petition, they disowned the petition.

But, anyway, that is moot and academic now because the parties have agreed to dismiss the case by Friday,” Calida told reporters on the sidelines of oral arguments on the case before the high court.

SolGen Calida said the government and the petitioner­s in the plea for the protection of the environmen­t in the WPS agreed that the case be dismissed.

“The parties, petitioner­s and respondent­s, agreed that the case be dismissed by the Supreme Court. To us, that’s a win because we are the respondent­s,” Calida said, remarking that this may be the “fastest case” he has appeared in.

Diokno and his colleagues were clearly in agreement, but just as clearly, they still seem to refuse they have lost the case, as they said in a statement that “after being called to chambers, both parties agreed to explore the filing of a joint motion in the premises and were given until Friday (last week) to do so.”

Before the suspension, Calida had bared that many of the Palawan and Zambales fishermen whom the IBP representa­tives said were true respondent­s of petition (but apparently were not) who had accused the Duterte government of neglecting its duty of enforcing environmen­tal laws in three features of the WPS — claimed that they neither knew of, nor supported the filing of the case.

The yellows suffer from a serious credibilit­y problem, what with so many underhand tricks to which they resort almost every time. Besides, it is fairly clear that the many of these fishermen couldn’t possibly have thought of going to the High Court in the yellows’ bid into forcing the government to get a war between Philippine­s and China.

Yellows should really stop their dirty tricks. They don’t work these days.

“The yellows suffer from a serious credibilit­y problem, what with so many underhande­d tricks to which they resort almost every time.

It was clearly a roundabout way for Diokno and his colleagues to squeeze an already squeezed out publicity stunt by the yellows.

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