3 arrested for constructing houses in protected area

Published July 8, 2020, 2:14 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Three persons who were found illegally occupying a forest land in Zambales have been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

NBI Officer-In-Charge Eric Distor on Wednesday, July 8, identified those arrested as Danilo Montes, Gilbert Ramiso, and Johnedel Bondad.

The three were arrested by agents of the NBI’s Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) last July 2 in Barangay San Rafael in San Felipe, Zambales after failing to present clearance to occupy and construct houses in the area.

NBI-EnCD agents also found an unregistered .45 caliber pistol in one of the houses.

Following their arrest, the three were presented for inquest before the Zambales Provincial Prosecutor’s Office for violating Section 78 of Presidential Decree 705, as amended by Executive Order 277, and for violating Republic Act 7161, the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.

Montes was also charged for violating Sec. 28 of RA 10951, the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

“The operation stemmed from an intelligence report received by NBI-Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) that a group of individuals were unlawfully occupying a parcel of land classified as Unclassified/Public Forest Land in Brgy. San Rafael, San Felipe, Zambales, without any permit or authority under existing laws and regulation,” the NBI said in a statement.

The NBI-EnCD conducted the operation after surveillance confirmed the existence of the houses.

Representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also inspected the area and certified that those who occupied the area had no permits or tenurial instruments.