Police, DENR execs implicated

Masungi Georeserve Foundation president Benjamin Dumaliang has implicated the names of an active police official and a retired official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who, according to him, were illegally occupying the protected area within its conservation site covering the towns of Baras and Tanay in Rizal province.

Dumaliang was referring to former Quezon City Police District Director Brig. Gen. Remus Medina, who is now assigned to the Office of the Chief PNP, and former head of Rizal provincial environment and natural resources office Rey Crisostomo who, according to him, owns a resort within the protected areas.

“There is also a general in the active service who gives us a big headache here in the protected areas. Hopefully action will be taken immediately,” Dumaliang said.

“There is also a former PENRO official who has a resort here in our protected areas. He was the first to build a resort here against the law. He should be the one who enforces the law and sets an example but he’s violating it. How can we expect our countrymen to follow the environmental laws if they themselves are the ones violating it?” Dumaliang added.

General Medina and PENRO Crisostomo were given show cause order in 2017 but this has been neglected by the DENR, Dumaliang said.

“They (trespassers and illegal occupants) are inching deeper into the watershed, putting our lives in danger because that’s a geohazard zone — prone to floods and landslides,” he added.

PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said he will conduct an investigation into the involvement of some policemen who are illegally occupying a land considered as a protected area.

“We wanted to get the names, of course, the name of Remus Medina was mentioned. We wanted more so that the involvement of our policemen or military can be investigated and stopped,” Azurin said.

“We need to investigate but we need the cooperation of the complainant for this case to prosper. We don’t care if they get dismissed or whatever happens to them. We need to place things in proper order,” the PNP chief added.

Azurin also said that they will file charges against retired police officials who are also occupying a land within the protected areas.

“We will file a criminal case against them, because if the DENR found out that these are protected areas whose land title was under their names, the motive is definitely not good for the government,” Azurin said.

Nilo Tamoria, Regional Executive Director of DENR Calabarzon, said they will also look into the allegations against the retired PENRO official.

“There are allegations like that. This is the PENRO who already retired a long time ago. We will look into this and when it is proven that he violated our environmental laws,” Tamoria said.

DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the story behind these illegal claimants is so complicated.

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