Cebu News

City dad not giving statement vs WTCI over missing trees

Kristine B. Quintas, Mylen P. Manto/RHM - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak has refused to execute an affidavit to help strengthen and substantiate the complaint that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 filed against the WT Construction Incorporated (WTCI).

He felt there is no need for him to do so because the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage the city has, when the trees in the center island of S. Osmeña Boulevard were removed allegedly by workers of WTCI, would suffice.

“The video recording is the best evidence of its contents and not the opinion of those who saw or viewed it. Being the best evidence of its contents, the footages should be the one presented,” Tumalak said, in response to the request of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7.

His letter was forwarded to DENR-7 yesterday.

The Cebu City Command Center chief instead urged DENR “to avail of the procedures allowed in the said office (Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office) so that at the proper time and forum the footages and the operator of the CCTV, who will authenticate the recordings, can be made available.”

In his April 22 letter, DENR Regional Executive Director Isabelo Montejo asked the councilor to issue an affidavit based on what he saw of the CCTV footage.

“To pursue justice and dignity on the 79 trees, which until now have not been located, and in order to strengthen more the case filed against WTCI, we are respectfully requesting you to issue an affidavit…Your good representation has been pronouncing in the media that you are willing to support on this and we are counting on you,” read a portion of the letter.

This Friday, City Council members will view the full CCTV footage from March 29 to 31. WTCI is the contractor the Department of Engineering and Public Works-7 tapped in the rehabilitation of S. Osmeña Blvd.Its officials are being sued by DENR over the loss of the 79 trees, which were illegally removed and could no longer be found.

While DENR gave permission for the removal of the trees, WTCI and DPWH-7 should have earth-balled the trees, which should not have been uprooted without the presence of DENR representatives.

Earth-balling is the process of removing a tree and its surrounding root system and soil so it could be transplanted to and could continue to grow in another location.

Yesterday, Tumulak appealed for colleagues to refrain from issuing statements that might “jeopardize” the case against those behind the loss of the trees, whose disappearance DENR-7 has formally brought to the National Bureau of Investigation-7.

Foresters Raul Pasoc and Filemon Embalzado Jr. personally handed the letter-request seeking NBI-7’s help at the office of Regional Director Max Salvador at 10:47 a.m. yesterday.

In response, Salvador assured his visitors that their office would conduct a thorough investigation to locate the trees, which are believed to be already pieces of lumber now.

“As usual we will conduct investigation as to what happened,” Salvador said, adding that he already assigned two agents to look into the matter.

In his letter to Salvador, Montejo said that while DENR-7 has exert effort to locate the 79 trees, they are asking for help from the NBI, a Regional Anti-illegal Logging Task Force-7 member, to strengthen the case they have filed.

“It is our fervent prayer and hope that you would graciously consider this humble request as we try to work together for the continued protection of our environment and natural resources,” read Montejo’s letter.

He said have already filed a complaint before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office against WTCI officials Irene Te, president; Willy Te, vice-president; Julie Te, secretary; Juanita Te, treasurer; Mary Grace Te, Mary Joy Te and project-in-charge Adolfo Quiroga project-in-charge for the destruction of the trees, which was a violation of Section 3 of the Presidential Decree 953.—(FREEMAN)


vuukle comment










  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with