Where is justice?

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Friday, February 28, 2014


TWO cases brought to my attention in the past few days somehow made me realize that fairness in application of our rules and laws would depend entirely on who has the gumption, advantage of force, and the upper hand in the employment of threat.

The two cases concern land ownership and utilization. One happened in Ormoc City and the other in a barangay called Sta. Lucia in the town of Asturias.

Let us deal with these problems one by one separately or individually. The first is about a family in Ormoc one of whose siblings happens to be a trusted aide of my nephew who manages a contracting operation with Tsuneishi.

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Diane’s family in Barangay Margen was a victim of Yolanda and is still living in a warehouse. For one reason or another, her family was bypassed in the distribution of assistance extended to the victims of the super-typhoon.

And so, as of yesterday, the Awing family is still surviving in the warehouse. But what Diane was most worried about is the fact that the pastor of a “born-again” faith, who was earlier permitted to build a chapel on their property that the super-typhoon destroyed, now claims the land where the chapel was built as his by virtue of donation.

It seems that since Diane’s parents, having become members of the cult, had allowed the pastor to build a chapel on their property a number of years back. When Yolanda devastated the chapel in their barangay, one of Dian’s brothers notified the pastor not to rebuild the chapel since they were going to sub-divide the area among the heirs.

Here, their travails began. The pastor claims the place was donated sans authentic papers.

When one of Diane’s brothers decided to fence the property, the pastor retaliated with all sorts of criminal complaints against him. Certainly, the situation calls for resolution and justice.

The other case, which involves an old family friend, is similar to the first. But this one is about the cutting of coconut trees by one who did not have their permission as land owners.

The matter, it seems, has dragged on for a number of years now. But their complaints have not been heeded by the “legal authorities” of the barangay, from the Philippine Coconut Authority representative in the town, as well the barangay officials
themselves.

Asturias is the next municipality to Balamban, about twelve kilometers away to the north. A scion of the landowner concerned showed me a copy of their complaint, dating all the way back to 1999, for qualified theft and illegal cutting of coconut trees. It was never resolved.

And then the same offense was repeated only a couple of weeks ago. I was shown a copy of another complaint dated Jan. 15, 2014 but it was not heeded by the PCA and the barangay again.

Certainly, similar problems truly beg for solution and justice.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 28, 2014.

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