MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) warned Thursday that its campaign to arrest and fine smokers in public places continues while a legal technicality remains unresolved in the local court that issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the MMDA campaign.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the public smoking ban in Metro Manila will remain in full force and effect until the petitioners post the P100,000 bond required by the local court that issued the TRO.
“We have coordinated with the local court and we have learned that the petitioners have not yet put up the P100,000 bond, it is one of the conditions in the temporary restraining order (TRO). Thus, the TRO is not yet effective,” said Tolentino.
Tolentino warned smokers that the agency will continue to implement the ban in other public areas such as bus terminals – areas not covered by Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2009.
As of Thursday, Tolentino reported that they have a total of 6,200 apprehensions since the ban started.
Tolentino said the agency’s legal department is still drafting the motion for reconsideration (MR) to be filed before the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 213 that issued the TRO against the MMDA.
Tolentino said he was dismayed upon hearing reports that one of the petitioners in court that he was backed by a big tobacco company when he filed the complaint against the agency, citing that could be “abuse of the judicial process.”
In a six-page order dated Aug. 15, 2011, Judge Carlos Valenzuela granted the petition for the issuance of the TRO filed by security guards Anthony Clemente and Vrianne Lamsen.
The Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court earlier issued a 20-day TRO on the MMDA public smoking ban.
But in response to television reports, the petitioner who questioned the MMDA’s authority in implementing the smoking ban clarified that he is not working for a tobacco company and he was not paid to file the complaint.
According to the affidavit of Clemente, courtesy of his lawyer, Atty. Luis de la Paz, the interview was used out of context and far from the truth.
He said he never became an employee of a tobacco company and he denied that a lawyer from a tobacco company asked him to get caught by MMDA environmental enforcers.
Mandaluyong City RTC Branch 213 Judge Carlos Valenzuela issued a 20-day TRO against the MMDA’s anti-smoking drive “on sidewalks and public thoroughfares” on Tuesday morning. (With reports from Carlo Suerte Felipe and Ellson A. Quismorio)
Friday, August 19, 2011
Public smoking ban stays – MMDA