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Nation

Bulacan mining firm files raps vs Palparan

- Dino Balabo -

MALOLOS CITY – A mining company in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan formally filed charges against retired Army Gen. Jovito Palparan before the provincial prosecutor’s office yesterday for “taking over” its iron ore mine site last April 12.

Also facing charges of robbery through force and intimidation, grave coercion, serious physical detention and usurpation of real interest in real property filed by Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp. were a certain Lt. Col. Pederito Santos, lawyer Arturo Mercader, and Barangay Camachin chairman Romy Santiago, along with 150 John Does.

The company alleged that Palparan personally led the assault on its 442-hectare mine site in Barangay Camachin, with his men armed with high-powered firearms like M-16 and M-203 rifles, M60 machine­guns and rifle grenades.

Ore Asia is one of the contractors of Oro Development Corp., which has a mineral production sharing agreement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Vicente Altobano, the company’s security chief, said the armed men, who wore fatigues but without any name patches or insignias, took the cellular phones, service firearms and other communications devices of his personnel and held them against their will and at gunpoint for almost 20 hours.

Altobano said his security personnel managed to free themselves when Palparan’s group fled from the site with the arrival of mediamen at the mine site the next day.

Danny Ong, spokesman of Ore Asia, said the company is currently in the middle of an internal dispute between two groups of stockholders, with Mercader belonging to one group.

Ong said Mercader’s group earlier sought the reinstatement of another mining operator that was earlier booted out of the mine site by the DENR for allegedly violating environmental rules and regulations.

The STAR tried to get the side of Palparan, but failed. He, however, earlier denied, in a text message, having a hand in the assault on the Ore Asia mine site and serving as a consultant of Ore Development Corp.

In a press briefing, former Solicitor General Frank Chavez, an adviser of Ore Asia, said Palparan was no longer the “Butcher,” but a “hired dog,” alluding to claims that the former Army general was behind the killings of militants in Northern Luzon during his stint there.

ARMY GEN ARTURO MERCADER BARANGAY CAMACHIN DANNY ONG DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES JOHN DOES ORE ASIA PALPARAN
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