I charged Butuan mayor, other execs at Ombudsman for oppressing people

I charged Butuan mayor, other execs
at Ombudsman for oppressing people




Because these poor people were afraid to file cases against their mayor and other officials despite acts of oppression done on them, and because of the fact that they sought my help as president of Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) and Hukuman ng Mamamayan Movement Inc. (HMMI), I filed this case on their behalf for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 against the mayor and others.

Those officials I charged are:

1. Mayor Ferdinand Amante of Butuan City;
2. City Health Official Dr Joyce Hidalgo;
3. City Housing Official Engr. Levita B. Grana; and
4. Building Official Arch. John Paul Velasco;

There were others who I charged.

As proof of the filing, the first page of the complaint is posted above.

If you wish to read the complaint, it is posted at the bottom.

x----------------------------------------------x


Republic of the Philippines
Office of the Ombudsman
Ombudsman Building, Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City




ATTY. BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING,
                                                            Complainant,


            - versus -                                                      OMB-C-C No. _____________
                                                                                 OMB-C-A No. _____________


(1) HON. MAYOR FERDINAND AMANTE of
CITY OF BUTUAN; (2) DR. JOYCE HIDALGO
of CITY HEALTH OFFICE OF BUTUAN;
(3) HON. ENGR. LEVITA B. GRANA of CITY
HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT; (4) ARCH.
JOHN PAUL VELASCO, Building Official
of Butuan City; (5) EX-BRGY. CHAIRMAN
MENELIO P. GALAN of Brgy. San Ignacio,
Butuan City; (6) ATTY. DIONISIO D. LUA;
(7) ISMAEL G. BUBULI; (8) JULIUS CEASAR
G. PINO; (9) POLICE SUPT. DENNIS SERUNO;
(10) MARCON CHU; (11) HONG C. SEE; and
(12) JOHN AND JANE DOES who are the
responsible officers of CELEBES AGRICULTURAL
CORPORATION,
                                                            Respondents.
x------------------------------------------------x
Republic of the Philippines                      )
City of Manila                                              )SC


Complaint-Affidavit


            I, ATTY. BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING, of legal age, Filipino, whose office address is Unit 1, No. 2368 Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila, after having been sworn to in accordance with law, do hereby depose and state:


1.     I am executing this affidavit to file formal complaints on behalf of residents of Montilla Blvd. Extension in Butuan City whose homes or houses of decades have been demolished but who have no financial capacity and no courage to file these charges;


2.     I charge all the public respondents of committing a criminal violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, committed by conspiracy in giving unwarranted benefits in bad faith to rich persons, juridical or otherwise, during the demolition of the houses of these Butuan residents, numbering, more or less, to more than 100 families;


3.     Those who are in public office at the time of the filing of this complaint are being charged administratively for Grave Misconduct, Oppression, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service;


4.     Those who are in public office at the time of the filing of this complaint are:


a.      HON. MAYOR FERDINAND AMANTE who is the current mayor of the City of Butuan, who may be served a subpoena and other notices at the Office of the Mayor, City Hall, Butuan City;


b.     HON. DR. JOYCE HIDALGO who is the current Health Officer of the City of Butuan who may be served a subpoena and other notices at the Office of the City Health of Butuan City;


c.      HON. ENGR. LEVITA B. GRANA who is the current OIC of the Office of City Housing and Development of Butuan City who may served subpoena and other notices at the same office;


d.     ARCH. JOHN PAUL VELASCO who is the current Building Official of the City of Butuan who may be served subpoena and other notices at the same office;



5.     Respondent MENELIO P. GALAN, who is being impleaded in the criminal charge by reason of conspiracy, may be subpoenaed care of Barangay San Ignacio, Montilla St., Butuan City;


6.     Respondent ATTY. DIONISIO D. LUA, who is also being impleaded in the criminal charge by reason of conspiracy, may be subpoenaed at 072 A. D. Curato St., Butuan City;


7.     Respondent ISMAEL G. BUBULI, who may also be subpoenaed care of Purok 5, Barangay San Ignacio, Montilla St., Butuan City;


8.     Respondent JULIUS CEASAR G. PINO, who may also be subpoenaed at Purok 5, Brgy San Ignacio, Butuan City;


9.     Respondent POLICE SUPT. DENNIS SERUNO, who was the Chief of Police of the Butuan City Police Station, Butuan City, who may be subpoenaed at the Butuan City Police Station;


10. Respondent MARCON CHU, who may be subpoenaed at Guingona Subd. 4th St., Butuan City;


11. Respondent HONG C. SEE, who may be subpoenaed at Oro Rama Megacenter, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City; and


12.  Respondents JOHN AND JANE DOES, presumably the President, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Celebes Agricultural Corporation are the responsible officers of the corporation who may be subpoenaed at Barangay Baan, Kilometer 3, Butuan City, the website of Celebes does not disclose the officers of the same and their names will be submitted as soon as it is learned;


13. These names of the respondents and the contents of the instant complaint are based on twenty-four (24) individual “Sinumpaang Reklamo” executed in handwriting by the residents whose homes have been demolished;


14. Copies of these “Sinumpaang Reklamo” are hereto attached as follows:


a.      ANNEX “A” series “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of MERCEDES L. GOMEZ, PUROK 6 BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO, MONTILLA BLVD, Butuan City;

b.     ANNEX “B” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of  ANGELITA TAN LICUP, MONTILLA STREET, BUTUAN CITY;

c.      ANNEX “C” series --  “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of MERVIL S. VILLAR, PUROK 5 BRGY SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

d.     ANNEX “D” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of FLORIDA O. FAELNAR, BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

e.     ANNEX “E” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of JONALO R. DURAIN, SR., PUROK 6 BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

f.       ANNEX “F” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of WENIFREDA T. MARQUITA, BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

g.      ANNEX “G” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of AZUCENA RECRIO, PUROK 6 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

h.     ANNEX “H” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of EDEN BESA GONZAGA, BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

i.        ANNEX “I” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo”  of CEFERINO P. TEJERO, BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

j.        ANNEX “J” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of ELSIE R. DADA, BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

k.      ANNEX “K” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of JOCELYN M. ERANA, PUROK 5 BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.

l.        ANNEX “L” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo”  of BUENAVENTURA DELA TORRE, BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

m.   ANNEX “M” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of MARILOU M. VIRTUDAZO, PUROK 5 BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

n.     ANNEX “N” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of NILO P. PROCHINA, SR., PUROK 3 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

o.     ANNEX “O” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of EULOGIO R. VILLAR, JR., PUROK 5 BRGY SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

p.     ANNEX “P” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of MENCELITO R. VILLAR, PUROK 5 BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

q.     ANNEX “Q” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of FLORDELIZA C. COSO, PUROK 6 BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

r.       ANNEX “R” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of SUSAN D. TAN, MONTILLA ST., B.C.;

s.      ANNEX S” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of STEPHANIE D. CULTURA, PUROK 6 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

t.       ANNEX “T” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of DIOSDADO S. LINAO, MONTILLA ST., B.C.;

u.     ANNEX “U” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of MILAGROS B. TAN, MONTILLA ST., B.C.;

v.      ANNEX “V” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of FLORANTE T. MARQUITA, BRGY 15 SAN IGNACIO B.C.;

w.   ANNEX “W” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of FARRAH M. VUELBAN, PUROK 6 ROSALES ST., B.C.;

x.      ANNEX “X” series -- “Sinumpaang Reklamo” of VIVIAN P. SEMBLANTE, 1026 MONTILLA BLVD., B.C.;


15.  Actually, these 24 “Sinumpaang Reklamo” named Judge Emmanuel E. Escatron and the sheriffs of Butuan RTCs but these court officials are not included in this complaint because they are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and, besides, a separate complaint was already filed before the Supreme Court against Judge Escatron;


16.   Briefly, the 24 affidavits dubbed as “Sinumpaang Reklamo” commonly alleged that all the respondents connived with each other in causing undue prejudice to the more or less 200 families whose houses were demolished inside a big parcel of lot on Montilla Blvd., Butuan City, whose total area is 23,408.00 square meters;


17.  The prejudice was caused on persons living on that lot along Montilla Blvd. by the deliberate acts of each of the respondents but combining to ensure the demolition will go on without any obstacle despite the fact that there was no relocation sites yet put in place by the City Officials led by Mayor Amante;


18.  The prejudice caused the affected persons came in the form of demolished houses, displacement of their selves and children, and loss of everything in their lives and all their integrity as human beings because the victims were surprised and shocked by the sheriffs and the policemen implementing the demolition while the victims were nowhere to go and were compelled to sleep on the sidewalk of Montilla Blvd.;


19.  The demolitions were implemented after Judge Escatron issued the second alias writ of demolition without regard to the fact that the decision he was implementing became final and executory 23 years ago, or on 18 January 1991, because of the decision of the Supreme Court in GR No. 78109;


20.  Judge Escatron also did not regard the fact that his predecessor judge already rejected an earlier motion for second alias writ of demolition in an Order dated 9 June 2000, Page 1926-1927 of the Rollo of the case, Cadastral Case No. 1 of the Butuan RTC, Branch 2;


21. The denial of the earlier alias writ of execution as ordered by the previous judge was founded upon the ground that more than five (5) years had lapsed for the same decision to be implemented;


22.  The victims here complained also that they were not parties to the said Cadastral Case No. 1 and yet they were not notified of the ex-parte motion for issuance of second alias writ of demolition;


23. Moreover, the victims here complained that when the sheriffs concerned implemented the second alias writ of demolition, many of them who were not named in the ex-parte motion and in the writ itself were also demolished of their homes;


24. In an attempt to justify their actions, the sheriffs in connivance with former barangay chairman Menelio P. Galan, Ismael G. Bubuli and Atty. Dionisio D. Lua just wrote in handwriting the names of the victims whose houses were demolished by these respondents even though their names are not reflected in the second alias writ of demolition;


25.  As proof, a copy of the writ of demolition that reflects handwritten names of victims whose houses were demolished is attached hereto as ANNEX “Y”;


26.  Atty. Lua knew all along that respondent Dr. Joyce Hidalgo no longer has any interest in the parcel of land because Dr. Hidalgo already sold the parcel to three different persons: (a) Marcon Chu; (b) Hong C. See; and (c) Celebes Agricultural Corporation;


27.  Atty. Lua also knew that on the ground that five (5) years already elapsed the former judge, Judge Dabalos, already denied the earlier motion for alias writ of demolition in an order dated 9 June 2000, found at Pages 1926-1927 of the rollo of Cadastral Case No. 1;


28. Yet, Atty. Lua filed the ex-parte motion for second alias writ of execution in the name of Dr. Hidalgo;


29.  As proofs of demolition of the houses of the victims, photographs are attached hereto as a series of ANNEX “Z“;


30.  Now, all the respondents, particularly the officials of the City names Mayor Amante, Dr. Hidalgo, Engr. Grana and Arch. Velasco, knew all along the Second Alias Writ of Demolition that was to be implemented by the sheriffs of the Butuan City RTC yet they did nothing to implement Republic Act 7279 whenever demolitions were ordered;


31.  Particularly Mayor Amante and Engr. Grana, as the mayor and as the chief of the City Housing and Development, the respondents are obligated under RA 7279 to ensure that those affected by the demolition must be informed of the demolition, ensure that the demolition must be effected at least forty-five (45) days from notice, ensure that those whose homes shall be demolished shall have relocation sites or at least given amounts equivalent to at least two months of salary of a minimum wage earner, ensure that all the police officers involved are in uniform, ensure that all members of the demolition team have identification or are identified;


32.  The victims repeatedly sought the help of Mayor Amante, Engr. Grana and Arch. Velasco, as well as councilors of the City but they did not get any relief, except for the filing of the resolution sponsored by City Councilor Sergio Pascual who, aside from being present during the demolition to confront the demolition sheriffs and policemen, sought the temporary closure of the stretch of Montilla Extension Blvd. to provide a temporary area where the victims can erect temporary structures for their temporary houses;


33. To prove the acts of Councilor Pascual, a copy of the minutes of the City Council session held for the purpose is attached hereto as ANNEX “AA”;


34.  Respondents Marcon Chu, Hong C. See and the officials of Celebes Agricultural Corp. knew from the start that the sub-parcels of land they bought from Dr. Hidalgo were peopled by more than One Hundred (100) families, knew from the start that these families have never been impleaded in any case, knew from the start that they cannot implement a decision aged 23 years ago, knew from the start that they should file a new case impleading these persons, knew from the start that they cannot demolish the homes of persons without due process and without complying with RA 7279 yet they allowed Atty. Lua, Galan, Bubuli and the sheriffs to demolish these sacred homes of the victims;


35.  Meanwhile, Dr. Hidalgo committed further violation because he was in a conflict of interest yet he used his position and influence to the mayor and fellow city officials to ensure his personal interest of gain from selling the subject parcel of land to Marcon Chu, Hong C. See and Celebes Agricultural Corporation;


36.  Architect Velasco, for his part, added insult to the injuries by making a demand letter addressed to the victims to remove their temporary structures erected to temporarily assuage their plight of being victims of sudden loss of homes, contending that these structures are nuisance;


37.  Because of this act of Velasco, the undersigned wrote him a letter warning him not to touch the victims whose plight was caused no less than by them officials of the City who have the primary obligation to comply with RA 7279;


38.  A copy of the letter of the undersigned to Arch. Velasco is attached hereto as ANNEX “BB”;


39.  In the complaint filed before the Supreme Court against Judge Escatron, the complainants alleged that it was rumoured that Sixteen Million Pesos (₱16,000.00) was given to officials to ensure the success of the demolition;


40.  Earlier, the undersigned wrote a letter to the sheriffs warning them not to proceed in demolishing the houses that remained not demolished within the sub-parcel bought by Hong C. See because it will be illegal for them to do so;


41.  By the way, Mr. Hong C. See was identified by the victims as the owner of Oro Rama mall in Cagayan de Oro;


42. It was also learned by the victims that the other part of the whole parcel of Lot 447 of the Butuan Cadastre was bought from Hidalgo by Gaisano while the other was bought by a rich corporation Celebes Agricultural Corporation;


43.  Specifically, the demolition violated several provisions of Republic Act 7279, particularly those underlined below, which are as follows:

Sec.  28. Eviction and Demolition. — Eviction or demolition as a practice shall be discouraged. Eviction or demolition, however, may be allowed under the following situations:

(a) When persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks, and playgrounds;

(b) When government infrastructure projects with available funding are about to be implemented; or

(c) When there is a court order for eviction and demolition.

In the execution of eviction or demolition orders involving underprivileged and homeless citizens, the following shall be mandatory:

(1) Notice upon the effected persons or entities at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of eviction or demolition;

(2) Adequate consultations on the matter of settlement with the duly designated representatives of the families to be resettled and the affected communities in the areas where they are to be relocated;

(3) Presence of local government officials or their representatives during eviction or demolition;

(4) Proper identification of all persons taking part in the demolition

(5) Execution of eviction or demolition only during regular office hours from Mondays to Fridays and during good weather, unless the affected families consent otherwise; 

(6) No use of heavy equipment for demolition except for structures that are permanent and of concrete materials; 

(7) Proper uniforms for members of the Philippine National Police who shall occupy the first line of law enforcement and observe proper disturbance control procedures; and 

(8) Adequate relocation, whether temporary or permanent: Provided, however, That in cases of eviction and demolition pursuant to a court order involving underprivileged and homeless citizens, relocation shall be undertaken by the local government unit concerned and the National Housing Authority with the assistance of other government agencies within forty-five (45) days from service of notice of final judgment by the court, after which period the said order shall be executed: Provided, further, That should relocation not be possible within the said period, financial assistance in the amount equivalent to the prevailing minimum daily wage multiplied by sixty (60) days shall be extended to the affected families by the local government unit concerned.

This Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council shall jointly promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to carry out the above provision.

Sec.  29. Resettlement. — Within two (2) years from the effectivity of this Act, the local government units, in coordination with the National Housing Authority, shall implement the relocation and resettlement of persons living in danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and in other public places as sidewalks, roads, parks, and playgrounds. The local government unit, in coordination with the National Housing Authority, shall provide relocation or resettlement sites with basic services and facilities and access to employment and livelihood opportunities sufficient to meet the basic needs of the affected families. 


44.  Most of the provisions were violated because of the deliberate inaction by Mayor Amante, Building Official Velasco, City Housing Official Grana, City Health Officer Hidalgo;


45.  For Hidalgo, while it is obvious that his position as the City Health Officer has no relation to housing issues, he imposed upon him that obligation to act in good faith, follow RA 7279, follow the Rules of Court that he already lost personality in Cadastral Case No. 1, and these obligations acquired by him because he was the one who set in motion that demolition being the person personally interested in the demolition, acting clearly in a conflict of interest situation;


46.  The judge, the sheriff and Atty. Lua would not have acted that way were it not for the motive that was presumed to have been inculcated by the persons interested in the demolition, whose persons are Dr. Hidalgo, Marcon Chu, Hong C. See and the responsible officials of Celebes Agricultural Corporation;


47.  Galan and Bubuli conspired with in the actual implementation of the demolition because they directed the sheriffs which houses should be demolished even if those houses belonged to the persons whose names were not included in the second alias writ of demolition;


48.  The entire area of the parcel of land, 23,408 square meters in all, is situated in a commercial district of Butuan City along Montilla Extension Blvd. and it is considered as a prime lot for malls and other establishments by reason of location in a commercial zone surrounded by thick residential houses;


49.  In order to achieve the demolition, the respondents thought of reviving a very old case where the predecessor of Dr. Hidalgo won and where the dispositive order was to issue a writ of possession;


50.  The City Officials, except for Dr. Hidalgo who has interest in the profit from his sale, just pretended they did not know of the impending demolition;


51.  To further the prejudice upon the victim, respondents even sued the victims left and right;


52. Meanwhile, the sheriffs of RTC of Butuan engaged in the wrongful implementation of the writ of demolition are: Sheriff Archibald Verga, Sheriff Emmanuel S. Halad, Sheriff Daryl Asis, Sheriff Johnson T. Famador, Sheriff Alfonso Teddy G. Reyes, and Sheriff Angel C. Ancheta, Jr.


53.  Mr. Pino is also impleaded because he actually participated by assisting Galan, Bubuli, Lua and the sheriffs in demolishing houses of the victims, including those not named in the second alias writ of demolition;


54. Police Supt. Seruno is also being impleaded because he and his policemen violated the 50-meter distance rule and was even the one who ordered the demolition team to assault the houses and start the demolition, and primarily because as a police officer he is charged with the knowledge that he cannot assist demolition that did not comply with RA 7279;


55.  In addition, Supt. Seruno even participated in the actual demolition and acted as team leader of the demolition men hired by the sheriffs, Atty. Lua and Dr. Hidalgo;


56. In the meantime, the affiant sayeth further naught.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned hereby signs this Complaint-Affidavit on ____ January 2015 in the City of Manila.




ATTY. BERTENI CATALUNA CAUSING
Affiant

            SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE ME on ____ January 2015 in Manila City, affiant exhibiting his IBP ID No. 60944 and Driver’s License No. NO2-94-241544, expiring on 2015-12-10.

Doc. No.:       ____;
Page No.:      ____;
Book No.:     ____;
Series of 2015.

x-----------------------------------------------------x
Republic of the Philippines                                  )
City of Manila                                                          )SC

Verification & Certification of Non-forum Shopping

            I, ATTY. BERTENI CATALUNA CAUSING, of legal age, Filipino, whose office is located at Unit 1, No. 2368 Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila, under oath, do hereby depose and state:

1.     I prepared the foregoing Complaint-Affidavit and have read and understood the same;

2.     The contents therein are true and correct of my personal knowledge and based on authentic records;

3.     I certify that other than the Complaint filed by the victims against Judge Escatron before the Supreme Court and pending motions before the RTC of Butuan in relation to the demolition, no action was filed in any other venue and jurisdiction having similar facts, applicable laws, issues and reliefs prayed for; and

4.     Should I learn of one such action I will inform the Office of the Ombudsman in five (5) days from notice.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned hereby signs this Complaint-Affidavit on ____ January 2015 in the City of Manila.




ATTY. BERTENI CATALUNA CAUSING
Affiant

            SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE ME on ____ January 2015 in Manila City, affiant exhibiting his IBP ID No. 60944 and Driver’s License No. NO2-94-241544, expiring on 2015-12-10.

Doc. No.:       ____;
Page No.:      ____;
Book No.:     ____;

Series of 2015.

PHOTOS OF DEMOLISHED HOMES

 

 

 

 


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