https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/10/19/fishermen-claim-deception-vs-ibp-in-sc-plea-for-west-ph-sea-protectionMANILA – Some of the fishermen included as petitioners in a plea before the Supreme Court for the protection of the West Philippine Sea marine environment have accused lawyers from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) of deception, affidavits obtained by ABS-CBN News Wednesday showed.
These affidavits were the same ones Solicitor General Jose Calida submitted to the Supreme Court Tuesday, claiming that 19 fishermen - or almost half of the 41 petitioners - have disowned the writ of kalikasan petition. Calida’s revelation prompted the high court to suspend oral arguments.
ABS-CBN News obtained copies of statements from 22 fishermen: 20 from Barangay Pag-asa in Kalayaan, Palawan and 2 from Zambales.
Four of the statements were handwritten while of the statements from 18 fishermen that were typewritten, 4 were notarized in Puerto Princesa and 12 were signed in Barangay Pag-asa. Two other fishermen executed a joint affidavit notarized in Zambales.
Wilfredo Labandelo and Nilo Labrador, in their statements, claimed that they and 30 other fishermen approached IBP Zambales in February 2019 to ask for help regarding the closure of a school and their displacement from their residence in Sitio Kinabuksan.
They claimed the IBP local chapter promised to help them. They were asked for copies of their identification cards and were made to sign on an empty piece of paper bearing only their names.
“Pinapatunayan namin na walang ibang nilalaman ang papel na pinirmahan namin kundi tanging mga pangalan lang ni Wilfredo Labandelo, Nilo Labrador, at Rolando Labandelo,” they said.