MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Greenpeace To Sue Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee; Demands Public Apology For Defamatory Accusations

Published by MAC on 2006-10-04
Source: GREENPEACE Southeast Asia

Greenpeace to sue Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee; Demands public apology for defamatory accusations

Press Release, By GREENPEACE Southeast Asia -

4th October 2006

MANILA, Philippines - Greenpeace said Tuesday that they will sue Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee for defamation unless the governor publicly apologizes for misleading statements which he issued in a press statement last 12 August 2006.

Governor Lee's official statement, entitled "Anti-mining militants becoming destructive, irresponsible, says Lee," linked Greenpeace to Lafayette's claims of pesticide sabotage. The statement appeared in full in Lafayette Mining's corporate website last August and was also quoted widely in news articles in national dailies.

On July 21, 2006 Rapu Rapu residents reported a fish kill in Mirikpitik creek which leads out of Lafayette mine. This spill, along with several others reported by locals, occurred during the mine's test run. No explanations have been offered by Lafayette aside from allegations of pesticide sabotage which they have yet to prove.

In his statement, Lee was quoted saying "Pouring pesticide in a creek near Lafayette's Rapu Rapu project [.] was actually an act of economic sabotage" immediately after a paragraph referring to the Greenpeace banner-hanging at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) building last August 10. Greenpeace responded to the statement in a press interview where campaigner Beau Baconguis challenged Lee "to name names." There has been no response so far from the governor's camp.

"By merely casting innuendo on perpetrators of what Lafayette claims to be pesticide sabotage, Governor Lee's insinuations are pointedly malicious and clearly designed to put Greenpeace in a bad light," said Baconguis. "If this is not his intention, Governor Lee should publicly deny that his statement implicates Greenpeace in Lafayette's claims of sabotage."

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Emmy Hafild has issued a formal letter to Lee containing the said demand. "Greenpeace has always believed in being accountable for our actions. We identify ourselves prominently in all of our direct, peaceful, non-violent actions and take pride in the name and credibility we have built as an international environmental organization," said Hafild, "Greenpeace will not hesitate to take legal action against what appears to be an act of defamation."

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environment problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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