Ombudsman clears Mayor Tinga, 28 city execs on squatter shanties' demolition case

April 28, 2010 7:41 pm 

MANILA, April 28 — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) on Wednesday absolved Taguig City Mayor Sigfrido "Freddie" Tinga and 28 other officials in connection with a complaint filed against them for an alleged unlawful demolition of squatter's shanties at the "Libingan ng mga Bayani" (LNMB) located at Sitio Masagana, C-5 Road, Western Bicutan, Taguig City.

In a 21-page ruling approved by Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez, the anti-graft body has exonerated Mayor Tinga and several others for lack of substantial evidence.

"Wherefore, for lack of substantial evidence against respondents, the instant case, for grave misconduct is hereby dismissed," the ruling said.

Likewise cleared by the Ombudsman were Capt. Oscar Quilang Sr., OIC of the Administrative Office of Fort Bonifacio; Josephine Papa of the Local Housing Office; Virginia Cruz of the Department of Education (Deped); Dalisay Lizardo of the National Housing Authority (NHA); Virgilio Llemeses of the Urban Poor Affairs Office (UPAO); the Chief Consultant of the Anti-Squatting, Demolition and Vending Office Insp. Edgardo Mendoza; Barangay Chairman Danilo Rivera; Barangay Kagawad Armando Lopez; Atty. Gilbert Boiser of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); Percival Chavez of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP); Teresita Cuevas of the Department of National Defense (DND); Honorita Bayudan of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and 16 others most of whom are military officials.

The Ombudsman said that there was a paucity of proof to pronounce the guilt of the respondents.

The charges against Tinga and the 28 other respondents stemmed from the alleged illegal demolition of the residence of private complainant Gloria Macaraeg, a member of Sitio Masagana Taguig Neighborhood Association, Inc. (SMBTNAI) in Barangay Western Bicutan on Jan. 29, 2008.

Macaraeg claimed that on April 10, 2006, Maj. Arthur Macaro of the PATGB of Fort Bonifacio issued Notices to Vacate/Evict to dwellers of the LNMB, including the members of the SMBTNAI.

The complainant also claimed that at present, the administration and jurisdiction over the shrine is with the Military Shrines Services (MSS) of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).

Furthermore, the Philippine Army and the PATGB were properly authorized by the DND to undertake measures to demolish or file appropriate charges against illegal incursions in the LNMB.

The complainant said that for more than 10 years already, she is a bonafide resident, lawful professor and the owner of a 100-square-meter residential in Sitio Masagana wherein her demolished residence was located.

She claimed legal possession of her residence by virtue of her so-called extra-ordinary prescription under Article 1134 of the New Civil Code and her being a member of the SMBTNAI.

Macaraeg stressed that the demolition of her residence, costing P200,000 along with more than 400 other houses was carried out sans any court order or legal basis.

Nonetheless, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Nellie Boguen-Golez said that there were no specific acts attributed to each of the respondents which would constitute grave misconduct.

The Ombudsman said that the complainant and other residents failed to demonstrate that they have a clear and positive right to the preliminary injunction as the property in question is still covered by the Proclamation No. 208.

Proclamation No. 208 is a Marcos proclamation which excluded certain portion of land in Taguig City and reserved the same for national shrine purposes.

It was revealed in the Ombudsman ruling that Macaraeg clearly failed to show any right on the lot.

The Ombudsman pointed out that Macaraeg cannot claim ownership over the land where her house was built in the sense that it is a National Shrine Reservation, which is now known as the "Libingan ng mga Bayani". (PNA)

DCT/PTR

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