MAC: Mines and Communities

Lafayette Mining Harassing Environmental Ngo With P10m Libel Suit

Published by MAC on 2007-07-12
Source: Kalikasan-PNE Press Release ()

Lafayette Mining harassing environmental NGO with P10M libel suit

Kalikasan-PNE Press Release

12th July 2007

Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) today lambasted Lafayette Mining for filing a P10 million libel suit against non-government organization (NGO) Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC-Phils).

Media reports said that Lafayette Mining filed a complaint before the Pasig City Prosecutor's Office last Monday, July 9 against the trustees of the CEC-Phils and its Executive Director, Frances Quimpo. CEC-Phils is a member NGO of Kalikasan PNE.

"This reported libel suit by Lafayette Mining is a form of harassment and intimidation. We think that its sole objective is to bring about a chilling effect. This threat of penalization is trying to promote self-censorship among environmental advocates and people's organizations," Kalikasan PNE National Coordinator Clemente Bautista said.

"This libel suit from Lafayette Mining is no different from the Human Security Act (HSA) being pushed by the Arroyo administration. Both attempt to use the law for self-serving purposes, by targeting their most vocal critics," Bautista said.

"The libel suit is baseless, an empty bluff. We believe that this move by Lafayette Mining will not prosper. It will die a natural death and eventually end up in the trash bin due to its lack of merit," Bautista said.

"We will not be cowed by the threat of a costly and lengthy lawsuit against one of our member NGOs," Bautista said, stressing that more environmentalists and organizations are prepared to support CEC-Phils as the case progresses.

"This move to harass CEC-Phils will only generate more popular opposition to Lafayette Mining on the provincial, national and international levels. Already, many of our networks and allies have sent in their messages of support,' he said.

"We will face this libel suit in the legal arena and beyond. We will intensify our information-dissemination campaign to show more people in and out of the country what is really happening in Rapu-Rapu island as a result of Lafayette's mining operations. We will generate more grassroots support for the call to close the Lafayette mine in Rapu-Rapu, uphold a mining moratorium on the island, and work for genuine and sustainable program for the people's livelihood and welfare based on genuine land reform," Bautista said.

"This libel suit will not deter us environmental activists from opposing these destructive projects being approved by the Arroyo administration. It will not stop us in our mission to pursue a genuine people's mining policy that will benefit the majority of Filipinos and not an elite clique conniving with foreign business interests," Bautista ended.

Reference: Clemente Bautista, Jr. National Coordinator
Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy, Central, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com

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