CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Residents opposing the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco) in Casiguran, Aurora, on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional the laws that created the zone.
Among those seeking to void Republic Act Nos. 10083 and 9490 were leaders of farmers’, fishermen’s and militant groups. Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano is also a petitioner.
Named respondents were Apeco president Roberto Mathay, Aurora Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, Dilasag Mayor Victorio Briones, Apeco workers representative Harley Rose Alcantara Daquioag, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Sen. Edgardo Angara is “not part of Apeco, although as part of the Senate who authored the bill, he would be obliged to reply once asked by the Supreme Court,” said lawyer Rachel Pastores, who represented the petitioners.
Another group of Aurora residents on Tuesday protested the P332.5-million budget for Apeco next year, said Fr. Joefran Talaban, parish priest of Casiguran.
Sought for comment, Representative Angara, in a text message, said: “[It is] difficult to comment without having seen [the] petition or [its] grounds yet.”
The petitioners asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order against the operations of Apeco, said Gerry Albert Corpuz, Pamalakaya information officer.
RA 10083 and 9490, the petitioners said, violated provisions on agrarian reform and social justice. The 12,000-hectare Apeco-occupied lands were previously awarded by government to agrarian reform beneficiaries, the petition said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon