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Saturday, September 21, 2019
CEBU

Court sheriff cited for taking P900K to carry out demolition

A COURT sheriff was named in a complaint raised to President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly accepting money to implement an order to eject settlers from a private property in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City.

Court Sheriff El Cid Caballes was named in the complaint for corruption addressed to the Presidential Complaint Center (PCC) and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Complainant was private citizen Arsenio Tacardon who accused Caballes of demanding and accepting payments that totaled P900,000 in exchange for his services as sheriff IV of the Regional Trial Court - Office of the Clerk of Court in Cebu City.

“That P900,000 went directly to his pocket. I don’t believe a demolition process could cost that much when some of the residents there even volunteered to vacate the area before the actual demolition, after a pre-demolition conference,” Tacardon said in his complaint.

Caballes, when contacted by SunStar Cebu for comment, said he still has to get his copy of the complaint. He also said he will face the investigation and answer the charges.

President Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address last July, ranted against corrupt officials and called on the public to let him know or to use the government’s 8888 hotline to report corruption complaints. The PCC is the office assigned to accept corruption complaints 24 hours or any time of the day.

Tacardon’s letter to the PCC dated July 29, 2019 requested President Duterte to order an investigation on Caballes. He also sent a copy of the letter to the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas last July 30.

His complaint stemmed from his transactions with Caballes on a civil case in 1994 concerning the demolition of a building and other structures illegally built on his family’s property in Tintay, Barangay Talamban, Cebu City.

The defendants in that civil case were Gregoria Ranario, Primitiva Gerundio and other persons allegedly illegally occupying the lot owned by the Tacardons.

“When El Cid Caballes served the notice to vacate and notice of demand to satisfy writ of execution upon defendants Gregoria Ranario and Primitiva Gerundio, he asked for, and I felt obliged to give him, no less than P5,000 because he hired the services of some policemen to go with him,” reads a portion of Tacardon’s letter.

That amount continued to rise as Caballes asked for additional payments for work and persons he claimed have to be paid or given a share.

According to Tacardon, Caballes told him the expenses incurred include payment for carpenters, since there were then more buildings and structures than when he first inspected the location, and the hiring of a Special Weapons and Tactics team of the police for their protection during demolition.

The actual demolition started last June 19 and ended on June 24. Clearing operations continued until June 28.

Moreover, he said, Caballes told him they have to give money to barangay officials who “will come to ask.”

When he asked for a report of expenses, Tacardon said Caballes was not able to produce anything to account for actual expenses.

Tacardon said he had thought the expenses mentioned by Caballes were “questionable” and he felt he had no choice but to give.

“I felt I had no option because he was threatening that he will turn over the demolition case to some other sheriff, causing us to think that such action will cause further delay,” Tacardon said. “I believe this has been the standard and I want to stop and change it,” he added.

In an interview, Caballes said he is open to facing an investigation but he refused to comment further. “I welcome any investigation, but I still have to see the actual complaint. I will still have to consult my lawyer as well before I answer that,” he said.


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