NBI arrests 5 persons for occupying, selling protected lands around Marikina River

Published January 26, 2021, 8:04 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Five persons who occupied, erected homes and even tried to sell parts of the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL) in Antipolo City have been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).


NBI Officer-In-Charge Director Eric Distor on Tuesday, Jan. 26, announced the arrest of Milanio Ruserreccion, Zernan Villafranca, Jojo Mallorca, Marwin Lleavanes and Erwin Intela.

Following their arrest, the five persons were charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for violating Sec. 20 (n) and (o) of Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, as amended by RA  11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Areas System Act of 2018; and for violating Sec. 81 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code.

Distor said the five persons were arrested during an entrapment operation conducted by operatives of the NBI’s Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) last Thursday, Jan. 21.

The operation was conducted at the request of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“The aforesaid area located within the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL) has illegal occupants who constructed infrastructure without Protected Area Management Board clearance,” the NBI said in a statement.  

After learning that there have been attempts to sell portions of the UMRBL, NBI operatives hatched a plan to set up an entrapment operation.

Resureccion was arrested after he was caught receiving a P20,000 downpayment from an NBI agent acting as a poseur buyer of a 1,000 square meter lot within Sitio San Ysiro in Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City for P150,000.

NBI operatives also arrested the other four persons who occupied structures in the area “after failing to show any document claiming title or right to occupy a portion of the UMRBPL.”