Issue of April 16, 2017
Mt. Province

67th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Malacanang halts mining firm’s suspension order
by Harley F. Palangchao

SUSPENSION ON HOLD -- Malacañang has put on hold the suspension order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources against the operations of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company pending review of the appeal filed the company. LCMCo. officials have said the suspension order has no legal basis and violated the company’s right to due process.
-- Harley Palangchao



Officials of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) heaved a sigh of relief over reports that the Office of the President has put on hold the suspension order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources against the company.

The suspension order was slapped on LCMCo. on the ground that it violated certain environmental laws such as the alleged leakage of mine tailings into the river and purported abandonment of mine tailings pond.

LCMCo. questioned the supposed findings by DENR, saying that the original results of the audit report signed by 10-man member of the audit team have signified that the mining company has complied with pertinent provisions of the environmental and mining laws, rules and regulations, thus it did not recommend a penalty.

But Lepanto received another version of an audit report, this time signed only by six of 10 members, recommended that a show cause order be given to Lepanto for certain minor violations.

Lepanto appealed the suspension order before the Office of President, saying the order is questionable and without legal basis and its right to due process has been violated.

Lepanto’s legal department in Makati recently received a letter from Acting Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Ryan Acosta informing the company that the execution of the suspension order dated Feb. 8 has been put on hold until otherwise ordered by his office.

LCMCo. President and Chief Operations Officer Bryan U. Yap said Lepanto could not suspend its operation until otherwise ordered by the Office of the President after a review of the company’s petition.

“Our appeal stated that Sec. Gina Lopez has no authority to issue the suspension order. But granting that she had such authority, the order was issued without factual or legal basis and that Lepanto’s right to due process has been violated,” Yap said.

Lepanto is one of three big mining companies operating in Benguet for more than 50 years. The other companies are Benguet Corporation and Philex Mining Company Padcal.

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