PHILIPPINES: MMDA anti smoking drive stopped-Wednesday,The Court of Appeals ruled, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has no authority to conduct an anti-smoking campaign.
The Court of Appeals Twelfth Division through Associate Justice Maria Elisa Sempio Diy sustained the May 20, 2013 decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City, prohibiting MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and his personnel from enforcing the provisions of Republic Act 9211, otherwise known as Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
The case arise when petitioners Anthony M. Clemente and Vrianne I. Lamson asked the Mandaluyong court to stop the MMDA from enforcing the Tobacco Regulation Act. The two filed the petition after they were arrested by an MMDA personnel for smoking in front of Farmer’s Plaza Market along Edsa in Cubao, Quezon City. They were fined P500 each or be forced to render community service or imprisoned if they fail to pay the fine. The Mandaluyong court ruled in favor of Clemente and Lamsen.
“From the evidence so far presented in this petition, this court finds that petitioners were apprehended by respondents while smoking in an ‘open area.’ The area of assignment of respondents’ witnesses and where petitioners were apprehended, as shown by the pictures presented by respondents, is clearly not an ‘enclosed or confined area.’ Neither is it a bus station, nor is it a designated non-smoking area, as what respondents postulated it is. On the contrary, the said area, which is right beside EDSA is an ‘open area’ that serves as a sidewalk for the general public,” statement from lower court.
General Manager Cora Jimenez of MMDA insisted that they would not stop the agency’s campaign on anti-smoking. “One of our mandates is health and sanitation including environmental protection based on Republic Act No. 7924,” Jimenez explained. According to her they would soon present a position paper to prove their mandate to enforce the anti-smoking drive.IMAGE/www.philstar.com