The Supreme Court (SC) voted unanimously, 13-0, to reject a claim by Palawan province for 40% of the royalties of the Malampaya natural gas project, according to a Supreme Court source who asked not to be identified.
The source said that the court ruled that the Malampaya field was outside the province’s territory. The ruling has yet to be officially released.
The case stemmed from a February 2009 petition which questioned the legality and constitutionality of Executive Order (EO) 683-issued by former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007 ordering the release of half of the disputed 40% share of Palawan – claiming that it violates Republic Act No. 7169 or the Local Government Code of 1991 and the Constitution’s guarantee of equitable sharing of wealth.
The petitioners claimed that neither the governor, congressmen, nor the Puerto Princesa mayor is authorized to sign on behalf of the local government units (LGU) in the province as the EO directs the release of the shares to the province and congressional districts of Palawan as well as Puerto Princesa City.
They also argued that the provisional implementation agreement (PIA), which will authorize the release of the shares as stated in the EO, only discussed “net proceeds” but the law stated that the shares of LGUs should be based on “gross collection.”
They claimed that the local government code provides that any proceeds from national government income should be directly released to the LGUs.