Mines bureau not informed on cases vs Chinese nationals-A A +A
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
A TOP official of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said he won’t accept the reason of the City Prosecutor’s Office for dismissing the cases filed against two Chinese nationals arrested for allegedly doing illegal mining last week.
MGB regional director Rex Monsanto said they have not been informed “in the course of filing the charges in court.”
Monsanto said they were only informed shortly on Monday afternoon just as the inquest proceeding is almost done.
He said it is not only the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that plays a vital role in the filing of the case but the City Environment Office as well since one of the charges filed is violation of the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of 1991.
“We were left in the dark as to their plan after the raid,” Monsanto said.
He said it is very difficult on their part to file the case since they were not present during the arrest of the suspects.
“We have no legal basis so how can we file the case?” Monsanto added.
Thursday last week, Zong Hengyuan, 43, and He Jiancheng, 42, both residents of the People’s Republic of China, were arrested during a raid in a barge in Sitio Araw-Araw, Barangay Pagalungan in Cagayan de Oro City.
The two Chinese nationals are facing at least three cases in violation of the Philippine Mining Act, Republic Act 7076 or the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of 1991 and Executive Order 074-2012 issued by Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano filed by environment group Sulog.
Monsanto said they will be filing the charges but it has to be thoroughly studied and should not be speedily done.
Under the Philippine Mining Act, he said the case to be filed might only be “theft of mineral.”
On Monday, the City Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the three charges filed against Hengyuan and Jiancheng.
City Prosecutor Fidel Macauyag said the cases were dismissed due to “insufficiency of evidence.”
Macauyag said the filing of the complaint “did not carry the imprimatur by the DENR or any of its authorized representatives.”
He said the complaint lack the participation of the DENR, the government agency mandated by law to implement the Philippine Mining Act.
“The DENR is mandated by law to be the in-charge in these kinds of violations. The court will honor even just a letter from the DENR addressed to the city prosecutor recommending the case filed by Sulog,” Macauyag said during Monday’s inquest at the Hall of Justice.
He said the complaint also lacks the affidavit of the arresting officers and inventory and photos of the evidence.
“How can this case stand in court?” Macauyag said.
Only the affidavits of Sulog members Ralph Vincent Abragan and Roldan Maglunsod were submitted to the court.
However, Macauyag said the three cases were “dismissed without prejudice,” which means these can still be filed back provided all the necessary documents are submitted.
Bob Ocio, a Sulog member, vowed to finish the case to the end.
Ocio said they will be meeting with representatives from the DENR, MGB and Environment Management Bureau anytime soon.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 31, 2012.