Makati oil leak sparks 'RP's biggest environmental lawsuit'

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


MANILA, Philippines - A leak on the oil pipeline owned by First Philippine Industrial Corp. could spark the country's biggest environmental lawsuit because of its potential effects on provinces from South Luzon to Manila.

Atty. Lorna Kapunan is inviting residents of Cavite, Batangas and Laguna to join the "country's biggest environmental case" being prepared by West Tower residents against the Lopez-owned FPIC for the damage caused by its leaking pipeline.

"This involves not only the city of Makati [but also] Batangas, Cavite, Laguna. [This is not only] a class suit, but a citizens' suit," Kapunan, who represents West Tower unit owners, told ABS-CBN's morning show, "Umagang Kay Ganda."

She said that West Tower residents will try to convince, not only other Barangay Bangkal residents, but also other communities.

The pipeline stretches from Osmeña Highway in Makati City, Laguna province and all the way to Batangas province. The pipeline is used to transport 50% to 60% of the petroleum needs of Metro Manila.

Kapunan said that instead of filing a class suit before the Makati City Regional Trial Court, they will file a "citizens' suit" against FPIC before the Supreme Court.

The lawyer had said that West Tower residents were preparing a petition for writ of kalikasan, a legal measure specifically meant to protect one's right to a healthy environment.

She said that they are looking at the possibility of filing a unified petition against FPIC with civic groups and non-governmental organizations.

Kapunan said that part of the suit is to demand from the FPIC to replace the whole pipeline and the gas-contaminated soil in the whole Bangkal area.

She said they are confident that the Lopez group, which owns FPIC, has the capability to replace the contaminated soil in the whole Bangkal area, just like what it did with the Power Plant Mall.

"Hindi naman apology ang kailangan natin. Ang kailangan natin ay hindi lang takpan ang butas, kailangan palitan ang buong pipeline... Kailangan pag-aralan nila paano i-replace ang soil na iyan," Kapunan said.

The Lopez-led FPIC found on Sunday 4 to 5 mung bean-sized holes in a portion of its pipeline that traverses Batangas up to the oil depot in Pandacan.

FPIC started checking its pipes after receiving complaints from the residents of West Tower. Barrels of effluent from the condominium’s basement have been collected since July.

The holes were found in a portion of the pipeline below the Magallanes flyover. is the online news department of ABS-CBN Interactive Inc., a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corp. ABS-CBN and First Pacific Industrial Corp. (FPIC) are both part of the Lopez Group of Companies.

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