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Court junks class suit against Cemex, APOCEMCO

Landslide in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan, Naga City, Cebu (File Photo)

About a year after a deadly landslide struck Naga City, Cebu and killed 78 individuals, the court dismissed a class suit seeking an environmental protection order and compensation for the loss of lives and properties.

Cemex Holdings Philippines, Inc., parent company of Apo Cement Corporation (APOCEMCO) based in Naga, said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange that the Cebu Regional Trial Court dismissed the case in a ruling issued on September 30, 2019.

APOCEMCO and its supplier Apo Land and Quarry Corporation were blamed for the landslide that wiped out a community in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan in Naga on September 20, 2018.

In its disclosure, Cemex said the environmental class suit was dismissed “for failure to state a cause of action”.

The court also dismissed the cause of action against Apo Land, operator of the quarry near the area that crumbled and caused the landslide.

Cemex said the court ruled that the case filed was not a proper class suit.

Only 17 of the 39 complainants led by Dennis Pansoy can sue because the 22 were dropped as party-plaintiffs after they failed to sign the verification and certification against forum shopping.

The court also said the 17 complainants can only sue for their respective claims, but not as representatives of the more than 8,000 affected individuals.

The remaining 17 may pursue the damage suit that they filed, but only after payment of the required docket fees within 30 days from receipt of the court order.

Otherwise, the court said the case for damages will also be dismissed.

The landslide killed 78 individuals and rendered more than 8,000 others homeless.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has declared the site as a “permanent no-habitation zone”.

Quarry operations in Naga remain suspended while quarry operations in other areas of Central Visayas and other regions, which were suspended for about a week in 2018, have been allowed to resume.

The class suit was filed against Cemex, Apo Land, APOCEMCO, Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional office in Central Visayas, City Government of Naga and Province of Cebu.

The complainants asked the court to issue an environmental protection order and writ for the rehabilitation and restriction of the natural and human environment.

They also asked for compensation for the loss of lives and properties caused by the landslide. (Ventures Cebu)

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