By Jeffrey Damicog
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed complaints against Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling of Aklan and several others including a relative of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III over alleged violations of environmental laws committed by three resorts in the island paradise of Boracay.
The NBI filed three complaints on Monday before the Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning the laws violated by Playa Asya Resort Inc. and Asya Premier Suites; Skygarden de Boracay Corp.; and Kingfisher’s Farm.
In all three complaints signed by Task Force Boracay head, NBI Deputy Director Antonio Pagatpat, Cawaling and former Malay Mayor John Yap are accused of having violated Sections 3(e) and (j) of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and Chapter III, Article 1, Section 444(b), Chapter VI Article 3 Chapter VII of RA 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991.
They are also accused of having violated the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines including unlawful occupation or destruction of forest lands; tax declaration on real property; and license agreement, license, lease or permit.
Also, named as their co-accused in all or some of the three complaints are Vice Mayor Frolibar Bautista, Sangguniang Bayan secretary Concordia Alcantara, Barangay Manoc-Manoc Punong Barangay Danilo Delos Santos, municipal engineer and building official Elizer Casidsid, municipal zoning administrator Alma Belejerdo, municipal assessor Erlinda Casimero, provincial assessor Kokoy Soguilon, former municipal zoning administrator Hadji Prado, and former provincial assessors Milagros Azarcon and Mary Jane Rebaldo.
The complaint against Playa Asya also named as respondents its executives including Aquino’s relative, Ramon Cojuangco Jr., the president of Playa Asya and principal stockholder of Gorgeous Holdings which operates Playa Asya.
“There is no question that portion of the land where Asya Premier Suites was constructed is classified as a forest land under Presidential proclamation 1064,” read the complaint against Playa Asya.
Other Playa Asya executives named in the complaint are Ma. Teresa Cojuangco, Arturo Diago, Ma. Auxiliadora Co, Patricia Montinola, Ma. Antoniette Morallo, Ricardo Lopa Jr., and Leoncio Joel Barrameda III.
Also named as respondents in the complaint against Playa Asya are officials and officers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), namely, Bienvenido Lipayon, Ronald Limua, Yvonne Faldas, Pedy De Pedro, Egar Higoy, Merlene Aborka, Domingo Donato, Antonio Luis, Roger Regalado, and Emmanuel Tigpos.
In the complaint against Kingfisher’s Farm, the respondents including its owner Lara Arac-Salaver are also accused of aquatic pollution in violation of the Philippine Fisheries Code.
Meanwhile, the complaint against Skygarden also included its executives, namely, Philip Chua, Marilyn Wong, Fernando Soriano, Yong Wan, and Li Juan Wan.