Position Paper why Butuan mayor, et al are guilty for abandoning residents while their 200 houses were being demolished
Position Paper why Butuan mayor, et al
are guilty for abandoning residents while
their 200 houses were being demolished
I am posting this Position Paper I wrote and submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao, against Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr., et al for abandoning constituents while the latter's 200 houses were being demolished by sheriffs upon an order of the RTC of Agusan del Norte and Butuan, Branch 2.
The main point here is that Mayor Amante and his appointed officials violated Rep. Act 7279, particularly Sec. 28 (d) (8), directing a mandatory order to ensure that relocation is complete within 45 days before the order of demolition issued by the Court order can be implemented.
The Mayor and his housing chief admitted having received the Notice to Vacate and Demolish from the sheriffs on July 18, 2014. From then on, there was no action from the Mayor and his officials. His housing chief stated that their offices were open and they helped those who sought help for relocation. In essence, they wanted to affected persons to come to them and not them to come to the affected persons.
The Notice stated that the demolition shall be implemented on 26 August 2014, less than the 45 days mandated by RA 7279.
The Mayor did not cause his legal officers to file a motion in court to give them time to fulfill their obligation to relocate. In fact, he was even scarce. The demolition victims complained that they sought Amante several times but he was too difficult to be found; and when found would make an alibi that he cannot do anything because they cannot interfere with court's order.
The one who sought the demolition was the putative owner of the lots were the houses to be demolished stood and it turned out that this putative owner was also an appointee of the mayor to the City Health Office.
The ground commander of the police officers who assisted in the demolition was also charged because he did not require the sheriffs and the local government officials to comply with the relocation requirements of RA 7279.
Aggravating their problem, the demolition was moved earlier to August 18, 2014, shocking the unsuspecting residents most of whom did not know of the date of demolition and did not know where to seek help.
So that they must be all guilty of grave misconduct, oppression and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. They must be all guilty also of violating Section 3 (e) of RA 3019 for causing undue prejudice to the residents and giving unwarranted benefit to the Acting City Health Chief who was interested in the demolition.
This is a long position paper. Should you wish to read, it is posted below.
Republic of the Philippines
Office of the Ombudsman
Ombudsman Building, Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City
ATTY. BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING,
- versus - OMB-M-C No. 15-0035
OMB-M-A No. 15-0046
(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
Motion Implead the Sheriffs Considering
They Turned Out Employees of the City and the Province
The complainant, by himself, respectfully files this Position Paper.
The complainant filed on 16 April 2015 the first motion for extension of time to file the position paper, asking for ten (10) days or until 26 April to submit the position paper.
However, the complainant filed the second motion for extension of time to file the position paper for another ten (10) days or until 6 May 2015.
Thus, the filing of this position paper today, 6 May 2015, is timely, subject to the approval of the two motions for extension of time filed earlier.
The Motion to Implead Sheriffs
From the revelations written on the counter-affidavit of Police Supt. Dennis Siruno, it turned out that the sheriffs involved in the demolition of the houses of the residents of Montilla Extension Blvd., Butuan City, who are all members of Montilla Extension Neighborhood Association, Inc. (MENAI), were all City and Provincial Sheriffs.
As City and Provincial Sheriffs, these sheriffs are therefore employed by either the City Government of Butuan or the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte.
Considering that violations of Republic 7279 committed by the sheriffs were blatant and without doubt, the interest of calls for punishments for the crimes and administrative violations committed.
After all, all the Sinumpaang Reklamo executed by the demolition victims clearly named these sheriffs for their violations.
It is therefore moved of the Honorable Office to approve the impleading of the sheriffs, whose names were written in the Notice to Vacate and Demolition as Sheriff IV EMANUEL S. JALAD, Sheriff IV JOHNSON T. FAMADOR, Sheriff IV DARREL A. ASIS, Sheriff IV ALFONSO TEDDY G. REYES, Sheriff IV ANGEL C. ANCHETA, JR. and ARCHIBALD C. VERGA, as another batch of the respondents in the same Complaint-Affidavit.
The Positions of the Complainant
The positions of the complainant are the following:
1. There is substantial evidence to prove that the respondents conspired with each other in committing the acts of violating Section 28 (d) (8) of Republic Act 7279 to ensure that the demolition shall push through–resulting in extreme prejudice to the residents of Montilla Extension Blvd; and
2. There is substantial evidence to prove that all the respondents, including the sheriffs, violated Section 28 (8) of Republic Act 7279.
With the above propositions established, there is no doubt that the respondents are guilty of GRAVE MISCONDUCT, OPPRESSION, and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE SERVICE.
Additionally, these also mean that there is probable cause that the respondents committed the crime of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019.
Conspiracy has been established that those public officers being charged here are guilty of GRAVE MISCONDUCT, OPPRESSION and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE.
The indications showing unity of purpose are the following:
1. All the respondents are presumed to know the material law, Section 28 (d) (8) of Republic Act 7279;
2. The ones who showed extreme interest in the success of the demolition were Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo and his lawyer, Atty. Dionisio Lua as proved by the caption of the case that shows that Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo is the petitioner who filed the motion for the issuance of second alias writ of demolition.
3. Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo is the acting chief of the City Health Office and he was appointed to that position by Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr. and he has been a fellow public officer of all other public officers who served in the City, not necessarily the City Government;
4. The fact that Mayor Amante and Engr. Grana, the acting chief of the City Housing, admitted having received a copy of the Notice to Vacate and Demolition served them by the sheriffs and the fact that the City Government, or any of the officials, did not act upon receipt of the Notice to Vacate and Demolition;
5. The fact that the sheriffs moved for the rescheduling of the demolition to eight (8) days earlier than originally scheduled;
6. The fact that not one of the respondents, except respondent Dennis Siruno, was present during the days that the demolition was implemented;
7. The fact that the public officials did not file a motion or manifestation before the Court for the observance of forty-five (45) days for the relocation efforts when this is upon the command alone of the mayor unto the City Legal Office that which the mayor did not do;
8. The fact that the City Officials did not come to the expectant demolition victims to ensure that they knew of the demolition order and to ensure that they were informed that relocation program was ready;
9. The fact that parcels of land included in the second alias writ of demolition were already bought from Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo by rich and influential personalities so that Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo did not have any more private interest left in the demolition;
10. The fact that the demolition entailed massive expense because of the sheer number of houses to be demolished nearing 200 and the big tract of land of two hectares yet the demolition went through;
11. The fact that the demolition was implemented by the sheriffs through grave violation of the due process because many of those houses were demolished after just handwriting on the Writ and the Notice to Vacate the names of the owners of those houses; and
12. The fact that the respondents City Officials are now saying they gave assistance only after the houses were demolished to prove the motive that they really wanted the demolition to pursue for otherwise these officials could have ensured the demolition to occur only after the demolition victims were all relocated and these officials could have been present during the demolition;
These established circumstances constitute substantial evidence to prove that the respondents who are the public officers are guilty of GRAVE MISCONDUCT, OPPRESSION and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE.
1. Knowledge of Section 28 (d) (8) of RA 7279
Ignorance of the law excuses no one.
So that all the respondents here, especially the mayor, Ferdinand M. Amante Jr., are charged with the knowledge of this law, which says:
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:
xxx xxx xxx
(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:
xxx xxx xxx
(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.
So that it is very clear that Mayor Amante all other respondents are presumed to have known that it is mandatory for them to ensure adequate relocation – not just half-hearted or feigned relocation – to be provided first within forty-five (45) days from the service of notice of final judgment before the demolition can be undertaken.
And if they cannot provide the relocation, the respondents knew that they must ensure that the victims of demolition be given amount equivalent to sixty (60) days of the prevailing minimum wage to be extended to affected families.
Engineer Levita B. Grana cannot feign ignorance of this law because she was serving as the acting chief of the City Housing Office.
Architect John Paul Velasco cannot also feign ignorance of this law and cannot excuse himself by saying that it is not his job. It is because he should have known that the demolition may result—which indeed resulted—in the installation of makeshift houses on the sidewalk of Montilla Extension Blvd.
Police Supt. Dennis Siruno, who was appointed as the ground commander to attend to the demolition, must also know Section 28 (d) (8) because as a police officer he had that obligation, too, to ensure that the demolition complied with the requirements of the law.
He cannot limit his duties only to the placement and the conduct of his policemen subordinates during the demolition. He had the obligation not to provide assistance if the requisites of Section 28 (d) (8) were not complied with.
For considerations of probable cause for the commission of the crime of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019, all other respondents who are not public officials are most probably guilty of committing this crime of causing undue prejudice to the demolition victims.
The presence of extreme prejudice is undisputed. The presence of evident bad faith or manifest partiality is evident. The manifestation of corruption is also there.
2. Extreme interest in demolition
Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo and his lawyer, Atty. Dionisio Lua, showed extreme interest in the demolition of the houses.
This is evidenced by fact that it was them who filed the motion for the issuance of second alias writ of demolition, the fact that they caused all the sheriffs to move, the fact that they caused the demolition date to be moved earlier from August 26, 2014 to August 18, 2014, and the fact that Atty. Lua was even present when the demolition was being implemented.
This is undisputed.
3. Dr. Hidalgo appointed by Mayor
Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo has been the acting chief of the City Health Office from the time he was appointed to that position by Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr.
Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo is a fellow public officer of all other public officers who served in the City, not necessarily the City Government. So that it is but natural that his fellow city officials all appointed by the mayor, including the acting city Housing Chief and the acting Building Official will cooperate with them.
Since it was the mayor who appointed them all, no one of them would go against the wishes of Dr. Hidalgo if Dr. Hidalgo had the blessing of the mayor to proceed with the demolition.
4. Inaction after receipt of Notice to Vacate and Demolition
Mayor Amante and Engr. Grana, the acting chief of the City Housing, admitted in their respective counter-affidavits having received on July 18, 2014 a copy of the Notice to Vacate and Demolition served them by the sheriffs.
It is also undisputed that the Mayor, Engr. Grana, Arch. Velasco and Police Supt. Siruno did not act to ensure that all the persons affected by the demolition were fully informed of the demolition, did not act to actively go right to the affected people to induce them to relocate, did not act to ensure that the relocation site was ready, did not act to ensure that these tasks were accomplished in forty-five (45) days, and did not act to file a motion or manifestation in court to ask to give the City time to accomplish the relocation program.
What Engr. Grana said in her counter-affidavit, as adopted by the mayor, were flimsy excuses by saying that they were open to resettlement, that a few came to her office to ask for assistance for resettlement that constitutes another admission that they knew of the problem and yet they did not act, that they gave assistance even after the demolition, that MENAI president Florida Faelnar wrote them regarding resettlement.
The horse was already dead when they moved the grass, so to speak.
If the mayor immediately acted on the problem, the mayor was anticipating that the demolition victims and their church leaders, including Iglesia Ni Cristo where most MENAI members belong, would beg to him to stop the demolition and he cannot do it because it would mean he would be going against the wishes of Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo.
In the natural relationship, the mayor always has the moral ascendancy over his appointee. But in this case, he gave in to his appointee, Dr. Hidalgo, and allowed the latter to complete the demolition. Only after the demolition was completed when the City showed some signs of action.
What is very sure is that the respondents did not act upon receipt of the Notice to Vacate and Demolition.
This inaction was committed in unity of the purpose of completing the demolition.
The inaction on the part of Police Supt. Siruno to call the attention of the city officials on the compliance of obligations under Section 28 (d) (8) before police assistance is allowed is also an evidence of his conspiracy to ensure the success of the demolition.
5. Moving demolition date earlier
Another evidence of conspiracy, this time by the city and provincial sheriffs, is a big piece of evidence that they sought for the moving back of the demolition date and the fact that it was granted by the Court without question.
Of course, this is one in unity with the purpose of ensuring the success of the demolition.
6. Absence of respondents during demolition
The demolition was implemented in a span of three (3) days, more or less.
Except for Police Supt. Siruno, not one of these respondents was present during the demolition of the houses of MENAI members.
The mayor was not there.
Housing chief Grana was not there.
Architect Velasco was not there.
Except for Councilor Sergio Pascual, the city council members were not also there.
In other words, they left in total desperation these victims who even voted for Mayor Amante in the 2013 election.
In fairness to respondent Dennis Siruno, he was the only one present during the early days of the implementation of the demolition.
But when the events unfolded and when it became clear to Police Supt. Siruno that there was no relocation, he should have acted upon immediately.
But what he did was he was an inactive observer.
It is treason on the part of the mayor to feign ignorance of the fact that the victims are underprivileged and homeless citizens by arguing that the complaint filed by the undersigned did not say it so. These were his voters and it was impossible for him not to know them.
The problem with the mayor is that his Acting Chief of the City Housing Office, Engr. Grana, admitted in her Counter-Affidavit that the demolition victims were underprivileged and homeless.
7. The City did not ask the court for time
It is undisputed that the mayor or his acting housing chief did not cause the City Legal Office to file a manifestation or motion before the court to ask for time of at least forty-five (45) days to implement their obligations of relocation under Section 28 (d) (8) of Republic Act 7279.
This fact alone is another evidence of conspiracy, it being an act of silence blending with the purpose of ensuring the success of the demolition.
If only the respondents were interested in doing their duties, all they need to do is to consult their city legal officer on what to do and it would be easy for them to ask the court for time.
Of course, it is only the order of the mayor that the City Legal Office was waiting.
8. Respondents did not go to victims
It is established that after knowing of the notice to vacate and demolition, the respondents did not immediately come to the victims before the demolition. In fact, they did not come to the victims at all even after the demolition.
City Housing chief Grana admitted that she just waited for the victims to appear at her office. All those who would not come would not get the blessings.
In fact, the truth of the matter is that MENAI victims came only after the demolition. But they were instructed they could avail of the relocation. That happened only after the undersigned complainant filed the instant case against the respondents.
The respondents even had the temerity of accusing two of the demolition victims as land-grabbing syndicate when this is not an issue. That is because the demolition was there. Even only a temporary resettlement is enough. Actually, even a cash assistance equivalent to two-month salaries of a minimum wage could be enough.
9. Parcels of lands already bought from Dr. Hidalgo
Why the heck Dr. Hidalgo was so interested in the demolition of the homes when the lands were actually already sold to other persons, like Celebes Agricultural Corporation, Hong C. See of Oro Rama Mall, realtor Marcon Yu Chu?
He should not be personally interested if he was no longer the owner of the land where the houses to be demolished were standing.
Dr. Hidalgo even it committed fraud to the court by stating in the motion for second alias writ of demolition that he was still the owner of the parcels of land where the houses to be demolished were standing.
Why be dishonest if there was nothing to hide?
The fact that he decided to commit dishonest acts is a manifestation of corruption and the ones acting in unison with his purpose are guilty of conspiracy to commit the crime of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019.
Hong C. See bought One Thousand Four Hundred Eighty (1,480) square meters from the lot of the heirs of Montano Hidalgo heirs who were represented by Dr. Joyce T. Hidalgo and the parcel that is in the name of See is TCT No. 33623.
Celebes Agricultural Corporation admitted having bought four (4) parcels of land for a total of Seven Hundred Forty (740) square meters from Hidalgo heirs. The titles of Celebes as alleged by it in its counter-affidavit are: (a) TCT No. RT-32732, consisting of One Hundred Eighty (180) square meters; (b) TCT No. RT-34041, consisting of One Hundred Eighty (180) square meters; (c) TCT No. RT-32882, consisting of One Hundred Eighty (180) square meters; and (d) TCT No. RT-31784, consisting of Two Hundred (200) square meters.
Marcon Yu Chu bought other parcels from the same land that needed to be demolished of homes.
Atty. Lua knew these facts that the parcels were already sold but he joined with his client Dr. Hidalgo in committing fraud to the Court that Dr. Hidalgo was still the owner of the land.
Atty. Lua and Dr. Hidalgo knew that if he sold already the lands, he no longer was a party in interest and there was no longer actual controversy in so far as Hidalgo was concerned.
Yet, they made it appear before the Court that the Hidalgos still owned the lands.
Because there was a prior writ of demolition that was issued, they purposely hid the fact that Hidalgo was no longer the owner because it was easier rather than making these new owners file new cases.
These acts are therefore another proof of unity of the purpose of ensuring the success of demolition.
10. Massive expense
There is no dispute that the expenses needed in completing the demolition were massive.
This is because of the sheer number of houses to be demolished nearing 200 and the big tract of land of two hectares.
Yet it was pushed through with extraordinary vigor that even short-cut the procedures required by RA 7279.
This alone is a big piece of evidence that unites with the burning motive of ensuring the demolition.
This meant that there was a lot of budget that came from buyers of the land from Hidalgo heirs.
So that the denials made by Marcon Yu Chu and Celebes Agricultural Corporation that they did not know about the demolition cannot stick in the face of the truth that Dr. Hidalgo would not push through with this if there was no money.
Hong C. See is a respondent here but he did not file his counter-affidavit. So that he is deemed to have waived his right.
With the proof that the magnitude of demolition cannot be done without big budget in several millions of pesos, this adds proof that the reason why the city officials, including the mayor, did not act was bribery from Dr. Hidalgo.
The same is the reason why Police Supt. Siruno did not act to require the sheriffs and local government officials to comply with the requisites of Section 28 (d) (8).
The same is the reason why Engr. Grana and Architect Velasco did not act is the big amount of money on the line at the demolition project.
The proof that there was big money put on the line is the fact that all the sheriffs of the city and the province joined in implementing the writ of demolition.
11. Blatant violations by sheriffs
Many houses were demolished despite the fact that the names of their owners were not listed in the writ of demolition or notice to vacate and demolition.
To justify these acts, MENAI victims said that it was Atty. Lua and respondent Ismael Bubuli and former barangay chairman Galan who did this in conspiracy with the sheriffs.
If they were in good faith, they could have gone to the court first to secure another order containing the specific names of those not in the list. But they just did it by means handwriting the names of those persons whose houses they demolished without corresponding court order.
See Annex “Y” of the Complaint Affidavit.
12. Belated assistance: admission of guilt
Engr. Grana and Mayor Amante admitting in their respective counter-affidavits that they started helping the victims of demolition only after the demolition was completed in August 2014.
As to the fact of when did the demolition complete, please see the sheriff’s reports or returns copies of whom were submitted by Police Supt. Siruno as part of his own counter-affidavit.
If the assistance could be done earlier and yet they did not do it, it means that there was an evidence bad faith on the part of the respondents.
All Other Actors Guilty as Well
Respondent MENELIO P. GALAN was already not a chairman of the barangay where MENAI houses were located.
Aside from the motive of vengeance because he lost in the 2013 elections, why was it that he was so active in leading the demolition?
He acted in concert with ATTY. DIONISIO D. LUA, respondent ISMAEL G. BUBULI, and respondent JULIUS CEASAR G. PINO pointing to the sheriffs the houses that should be demolished.
All the above discussions established substantial evidence of GRAVE MISCONDUCT, OPPRESSION and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE SERVICE.
The above also established probable cause that all the respondents are guilty of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 and they all must be held for trial in the Sandiganbayan.
In support of all the arguments, all the annexes cited in the Complaint-Affidavit are also cited here again, to wit:
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.;
It was stated in the Complaint-Affidavit that these 24 “Sinumpaang Reklamo” named Judge Emmanuel E. Escatron and the sheriffs as also to be charged by them.
But the judge and the sheriffs were not impleaded in the Complaint-Affidavit upon the belief that they were all court officials.
However, due to the information provided by respondent Police Supt. Siruno that these sheriffs are actually city and provincial sheriffs, these sheriffs are now being impleaded as one of the respondents.
In the name of fairness, it is so requested of the Office of the Ombudsman to require all the sheriffs to file their counter-affidavits.
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.
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.
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.
The demolitions were ordered by Judge Escatron 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.
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;
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.
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.
The fact that Atty. Lua knew he had the primary obligation to inform all affected persons as an officer of the court and yet he did cause the same betrayed his bad faith that is another proof of unity with the purpose of successful demolition.
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.
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. See ANNEX “Y”.
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. Yet he proceeded in defrauding the court.
Atty. Lua also knew that on the ground that the 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;
Yet, Atty. Lua filed the ex-parte motion for second alias writ of execution in the name of Dr. Hidalgo. This is another evidence of bad faith.
As proofs of demolition of the houses of the victims, photographs are attached to the complaint as a series of ANNEX “Z“;
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.
Particularly Mayor Amante and Engr. Grana, as the mayor and as the chief of the City Housing and Development, the respondents were 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.
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.
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.”
This resolution by Councilor Pascual is another piece of evidence showing that the respondents did not perform their official functions under RA 7279.
Otherwise, Councilor Pascual could have not filed the same resolution.
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 these new owners allowed Hidalgo, Atty. Lua, Galan, Bubuli and the sheriffs to demolish these sacred homes of the victims on the lands now belonging to the new owners.
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.
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.
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;
A copy of the letter of the undersigned to Arch. Velasco was attached to the complaint as ANNEX “BB.”
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.
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.
By the way, Mr. Hong C. See was identified by the victims as the owner of Oro Rama mall in Cagayan de Oro.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To further the prejudice upon the victim, respondents even sued the victims left and right.
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.
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.
WHEREFORE, it is prayed of the Honorable Office to find the respondents GUILTY of Grave Misconduct, Oppression, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and decree that they are prohibited from reemployment with the government.
In addition, it is prayed that the criminal aspect be resolved finding probable cause that all the respondents committed through conspiracy the crime of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019.
Other reliefs just and equitable are also prayed for. 4 May 2015, Manila for Davao City.
Causing Sabarre Castro pELAGIO
Unit 1, 2368 JB Roxas St. corner Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila
BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
IBP No. 949537 / Manila IV / 06-01-2015
PTR No. 3834103 / Manila / 06-01-2015
Roll No. 60944 / MCLE No. IV -0007338 / 08-10-2012
HON. FERDINAND M. AMANTE JR.
Mayor, Office of the Mayor, City Hall, Butuan City 8600
DR. JOYCE HIDALGO
Health Officer, City Health Office, City Hall, Butuan City 8600
MS. LEVITA B. GRANA
Division Chief/Manager, City Housing and Development Office, City Hall, Butuan City 8600
MR. JOHN PAUL VELASCO
Department Head, Office of the Building Official, City Hall ,Butuan City 8600
MR. MENELIO P. GALAN
Former Barangay Captain, Barangay San Ignacio,
Montilla Street, Butuan City 8600
MR. DIONISIO D. LUA
No. 072 A.D. Curato Street, Butuan City 8600
MR. ISMAEL G. BUBULI
Purok 5 Barangay San Ignacio, Butuan City 8600
MR. JULIUS CEASAR G. PINO
Purok 5 Barangay San Ignacio, Butuan City 8600
MR. DENNIS SIRUNO
Senior Superintendent, Butuan City Police Station, Butuan City 8600
MR. MARCON CHU
Guingona Subdivision, 4th Street, Butuan City 8600
MR. HONG C. SEE
Oro Rama Megacenter, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City 9000
ROMEO DOLOG SACRO
For officers and directors of Celebes Agricultural Corporation,
Barangay Baan, Kilometer 3, Butuan City 8600
Distance and lack of manpower compelled the service of copies of this Motion for Extension of Time by means of registered mails.
BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
Republic of the Philippines )
City of Manila )SC
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 Position Paper and have read and understood the same; and
2. The contents therein are true and correct of my personal knowledge and based on authentic records;
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned hereby signs this Complaint-Affidavit on 4 May 2015 in the City of Manila.
ATTY. BERTENI CATALUNA CAUSING
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE ME on 4 May 2015 in Manila City, affiant exhibiting his IBP ID No. 60944 and Driver’s License No. NO2-94-241544, expiring on 2015-12-10.
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Series of 2015.