DENR, NBI meeting to strengthen case versus contractor tagged in missing trees
Jessa Agua (The Freeman) - May 14, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines -  The National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will hold a joint meeting on Thursday to strengthen the case against the contractor tagged in the missing indigenous trees planted in the center island of Sergio Osmeña Boulevard.

A letter invitation was sent May 9 by DENR-7 executive director Isabelo Montejo requesting for the presence of an NBI-7 representative in the discussion.

“As our highly valued member of the Regional Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force in Central Visayas, we are respectfully requesting you to allow your agents to come for a coordination meeting,” read Montejo’s letter to NBI-7 director, lawyer Max Salvador.

The meeting, which will be held at the DENR-7 Conference Hall, will be attended by CENRO Cebu City chief Anastacio Cabalejo, DENR regional legal division chief lawyer Fernando Alberca, CENRO Cebu City Forest Management Section chief Raul Pasoc, and forester Filemon Embalzado, Jr. as representatives of the environment agency.

Salvador earlier designated two NBI agents to coordinate with DENR and conduct their own investigation on the missing trees following a road rehabilitation project near the sea port.

The meeting, according to DENR-7 spokesperson Eddie Llamedo, is aimed at identifying the next best step for both agencies to “strengthen more the case filed against WT Construction, Inc.”

A case was filed by DENR on April 15 against seven officials of WT Construction which handles the road rehabilitation project on S. Osmeña Boulevard.

Those charged for violating section 3 of Presidential Decree 953 were WT president Irene U. Te, vice president Willy U. Te, secretary Julie U. Te, treasurer Juanita Y. Te, project-in-charge Adolfo Quiroga, Mary Grace Y. Te and Mary Joy Y. Te.

Section 3 of P.D. 953 states that; “Any person who cuts, destroys, damages or injures, naturally growing or planted trees of any kind, flowering or ornamental plants and shrubs, or plants of scenic, aesthetic and ecological values, along public roads, in plazas, parks other than national parks, public ground or place... shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than six months and not more than two years, or a fine of not less than five hundred pesos and not more than five thousand pesos or both at the discretion of the court.”

A footage from the Cebu City government’s closed-circuit television camera reportedly caught the removal of 88 trees from the center island. The trees which were supposed to have been earth-balled were loaded onto the vehicle owned by the contractor. (FREEMAN)

ADOLFO QUIROGA ANASTACIO CABALEJO CEBU CITY CEBU CITY FOREST MANAGEMENT SECTION CENTRAL VISAYAS CONFERENCE HALL EDDIE LLAMEDO FERNANDO ALBERCA FILEMON EMBALZADO
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