Ipilan Nickel Corporation has filed a petition for mandamus, certiorari, and prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) against Brooke’s Point Mayor Cesario Benedito Jr. and anti-mining protest organizer Job Lagrada.

According to copies of the special civil action orders dated April 14 obtained by Palawan News, the respondents must submit their comments within 10 days after receiving the order, and a summary hearing on the legality of the issue of the TRO is scheduled for April 17, 2023, at 9:00 a.m.

Ipilan Nickel is seeking legal intervention due to the opposition of the local government and the residents of the town, regarding its mining operations in the area. The petition aims to compel the respondents to respect Ipilan Nickel’s rights and allow the company to continue its operations without any hindrance.

The court has found the petition to be sufficient in form and substance and ordered the respondents to submit their comment. The urgency of the prayer for the TRO and/or WPI has prompted the court to schedule a summary hearing to decide whether the issuance is necessary to prevent further damage or injury to the petitioner’s rights.

Ipilan Nickel, through its counsel, Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako, hopes that the court’s decision will favor them and allow them to continue their mining operations in the area without any legal impediments.

The respondents, on the other hand, have yet to respond to the petition, and it remains to be seen how the court will decide on the matter.

This situation came about after Benedito granted approvals to renew and extend rally permits requested by anti-mining organizations led by Lagrada from February to present.

Ipilan Nickel has obtained a TRO from Branch 165 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in the town against protesters obstructing the mining haul of the company in Palawan.

The TRO prohibits the protesters from stopping, apprehending, searching, or obstructing any vehicle or person making use of access roads to the company’s mining site. However, this was not accepted by the anti-mining protesters.

The company also requested Benedito to cooperate with court personnel and the Philippine National Police contingent in implementing the court order peacefully and promptly.

Ipilan Nickel resident mine manager, Alex Arabis, stated earlier that the company is complying with legal procedures and exploring all lawful and peaceful options against the threats of the protests.

The TRO, he explained, helps to operate the nickel mining resource, which employs over 1,500 individuals, 90% of whom are residents of Brooke’s Point, and 28% are indigenous people.