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Tropical Storm Igme
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
IN MY column last Monday, I was theorizing that the two Chinese nationals who were caught in a multi-agency raiding team in Barangay Pagalungan on October 25 were just mere “sacrificial lambs” in this Rite of Charades.
That if the apprehended Zhong Hengyuan, 43, and He Jiancheng, 42, who were caught while working in a floating quarry at Iponan River, will be charged for violating environmental laws, subjected to the local courts and was proven guilty, then there can be hope in the campaign against illegal mining and environmental protection.
But if what happened is the opposite, and worse, these suspects return to their homeland with ease, again, just do a simple math.
Unfortunately on that same day, it looks like the “opposite” is gaining a favorable path. This was when the City Prosecutor’s Office, signed and resolved by the chief prosecutor himself, junked the charges filed by a collective group named “Sulog (water rapids)” against the suspects.
Sulog led the filing of complaints of violations of Republic Act no. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Republic Act No. 7076 or the Philippine Small Scale Mining Law and Executive Order no. 074-2012 signed by Mayor Vicente Emano stopping all mining operations along Iponan River.
But the chief prosecutor’s basis for dismissing the complaint was that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the government agency that is supposed to lead environmental protection, did not file the complaint.
Sulog is not just any environmental civic organization, its president is no less than Orlando Ravanera, the regional director of Cooperative Development Authority in Region X. Its officers are people of sorts with names established in various sectors. And yes, it’s obvious they have an arsenal of lawyers should legal matters arise, such as the filing of the appropriate complaints against the suspects.
The prosecutor’s decision is sending a message to Sulog’s lawyers that they have missed one crucial point in the indictment of the suspects, which is, they should have convinced DENR to also file a complaint first before them. But is that it?
And DENR also has an arsenal of highly paid lawyers to do legal matters on their agency and yet they have also overseen this one crucial point yet why they did not file a single complaint and during the raid it was clear that there could have been violations made by the suspects, yet they just leave the task to Sulog to file a complaint.
And the chief city prosecutor, Fidel Macauyag, may you will be enlightened and become an inspiration to others.
“Woe unto those who give short measure, those who, when they are to receive their due from people, demand that it be given in full but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due.
“Do they not know that they are bound to be raised from the dead (and called to account) on an awesome Day, the Day when all men shall stand before the Sustainer of all the worlds?” Qur’an 83:1-6.
(Nef Luczon is a freelance journalist and a part-time communications instructor. He is also a film and art enthusiast. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 31, 2012.