Philippines

NBI recommends raps vs. ex-President Noy kin, others over Boracay mess

NBI recommends raps vs. Noy kin, others over Boracay mess
By Benjamin Pulta

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Officials of three resorts in Boracay Island, along with former and incumbent local officials, have been recommended for prosecution by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Environmental Crime Division.

In separate referrals dated Sept.17, and Aug. 20 which were filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Monday, the NBI recommended charges against officials of Kingfishers’ Farm, Skygarden de Boracay and Playa Asya Resort Inc.

Among those named in the charges by the NBI Task Force Boracay is a second cousin of former President Benigno Aquino III.

Ramon O. Cojuangco Jr. and Ma. Teresa E. Cojuangco were named by NBI in their capacity as president and treasurer, respectively, of Playa Asya Resort Inc. The two are also principal stockholders of the firm’s parent company Gorgeous Holdings.

“It is recommended that Gorgeous Holdings, its affiliate corporation Asya Premier, represented by its officers, Ramon O. Cojuangco ,Jr. et al be charged with violation of Sec. 78 (unlawful occupation or destruction of forest lands) of PD 705,” NBI Deputy Director Antonio Pagatpat said.

The firms run Asya Boracay and Asya Premier Suites, are located at Sitio Cagban, Barangay Manoc-manoc, Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan. Also named by the NBI were other officials of the firm, namely Arturo B. Diago, Ma. Auxiliadora E. Co and Patricia Montinola.

Named in separate referrals for prosecution were Skygarden De Boracay Corp. officers namely Philip L. Vhua, Marilyn S. Wong, Fernando A. Soriano, Yong Wan and Li Juan Wan and Arch. Lara Arac-Salaver, owner of Kingfisher Farm.

Likewise named in the NBI recommendation was municipal zoning administrator Alma S. Belejerdo who issued preliminary approval and locational clearance on zoning to Gorgeous Holdings in 2007 despite the issuance of Proclamation 1064 on 2006.

“The said proclamation made the occupancy of the said corporations illegal and thereby making the latter not entitled to such clearances,” the NBI said. “The case was also the same with (municipal engineer) Elizer Casidsid when he issued Building Permit No. 070800100 and other relevant permits dated August 30, 2007 to Gorgeous Holdings,” the detectives said.

It added former Malay town Mayor John P. Yap and incumbent mayor Ceciron S. Cawaling made the same violation when they illegally issued mayor’s permits to the firms during their terms.

The charges include Section 84 (Tax Declaration of Real Property) of PD 705, violation of Sec. 20 (License agreements, license, lease or permit) in relation to Section 79 (unlawful occupation or destruction of forest lands) and Sec. 85 (tax declaration of real property) of Presidential Decree No. 705, otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Local Government Code.

Also named in the charges were former municipal zoning administrator Engr. Hadji Prado, municipal assessor Erlinda T. Casimero and provincial assessor Kokoy B. Soguilon. (PNA)

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