Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, May 15, 2009

Animal rights groups lose legal war vs Subic marine park

Two animal rights groups have lost their legal battle against a popular marine amusement park in Subic Bay.

This was after the Court of Appeals junked the motion for reconsideration filed by Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Earth Island Institute (EII) in connection with their case against Ocean Adventure.

PAWS and EII wanted operators of the amusement park held criminally liable for alleged violations of Republic Act no. 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act.

In a two-page resolution, the CA’s Former Ninth Division said the petitioners failed to raise new issues that would warrant the reversal of its January 2009 decision upholding the withdrawal of the criminal information by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Perusing the motion for reconsideration… filed by petitioners through counsel, the Court finds that the arguments are exactly the same or are mere reiterations of those already raised and considered in our assailed decision," the CA said.

The criminal information was filed before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court against officers of the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium (SBME), the operator of Ocean Adventure. Named respondents in the case were Timothy Desmond, John Corcoran and Gail Laule.

The groups said SBME have been using as one of its attractions several false killer whales and sea lions even without a certificate of registration from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI). They said the animals are not covered by RA 8485.

In their motion, PAWS and EII argued that the DOJ committed grave abuse of discretion for exonerating the respondents based on the willingness to comply with the registration requirement. They claimed that by not registering, SBME already had become liable since omission constitutes the very violation itself.

But the CA said the petition is “devoid of merit," and that RA 8485 covers all sea creatures.

With RA 8485 being vague on the inclusion of marine mammals such as the ones found in the marine park, the CA said the DOJ did not commit a grave abuse of discretion. - GMANews.TV

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