Lopez to face raps for coercion, obstruction of justice-A A +A
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
LAWYER Cesar Beloria Jr., head of the City Legal Office enforcement team, said Tuesday that the Bacolod City Government is preparing to file charges within the week against the Lopez family, owner of the sanitary landfill property purchased by the City in 2008.
Beloria said Roy Lopez, who blocked the road going to the dumpsite in Barangay Felisa on Monday, will be charged with coercion, obstruction, violation of traffic rules, and disobedience.
Lopez resisted when he was asked to step aside, said Beloria, adding that they are now gathering data and witnesses, as well as studying the possibility of filing other cases depending on the angles of the incident.
The Lopez family opposed the utilization of the sanitary landfill due to the City’s non-payment of its balance of P3.8 million out of the P23.8-million lot price.
On Monday, Roy was arrested after he blocked the road leading to the dumpsite, preventing garbage trucks from entering the property. [Read the related story]
Beloria said Lopez should be thankful to Bacolod Traffic Authority Office (BTAO) head Executive Assistant Reynaldo Ebreo for isolating him from the crowd on Monday, because he was already being mobbed.
Ebreo assisted Bacolod City Police officer-in-charge Larry Decena and his men in handcuffing Roy, who was then brought to Police Station 10.
During that time, Ebreo had to act based on the prevailing circumstances, said Beloria.
“If they try to file a case against Ebreo, that is their right. But the city is determined to take action so that once and for all, this will serve as a lesson to others,” he added.
Roy, spokesman of the family firm Dynasty Agri-Aqua Corp., questioned the authority of Ebreo to handcuff him during the standoff Monday.
"Ebreo has displayed uncivilized and uncultured acts wherein he got the handcuff from a police officer and even declared that there is no warrant of arrest needed to arrest me," he said.
He added: "I was physically hurt by Ebreo; he pressed my hand when they put the handcuff on me. The war has just begun. We will take a stand. I appeal to the public to join us in exposing graft and corruption."
He also said that the issue was simple. “They just have to pay the toll fee but they refused because they want the toll fee to go to them. Enviroking has allocated funds for the toll fees and Enviroking Corp. is willing to pay us as owners of the land.”
Enviroking Corp. is the new garbage hauler of the City Government. The Lopez family has raised toll fees, as garbage trucks have to pass through their property to be able to reach the sanitary landfill.
The family repeatedly claimed that they still own the sanitary landfill property due to the unpaid P3.8-million balance.
Mayor Monico Puentevella, however, refused to pay the amount, since the Commission on Audit supposedly declared the purchase overpriced by P5 million.
City Administrator Rolando Villamor said that Lopez has violated the general welfare of the city and its citizenry for blocking the road leading to the sanitary landfill.
"There was no angle of any human rights violation because the police just exercised its duties and responsibilities to quell a supposed illegality committed in their presence," he said.
Villamor added that Lopez has acted beyond bounds as they no longer have basis to charge the Enviroking Corp. toll fees.
The City Government has developed an alternative access road to the sanitary landfill, and set the rerouting of garbage trucks effective March 14.
"The city has established a new access road owned by the city and what will be the basis of the Lopezes to continue charging the Enviroking for it did not pass through their property anymore?" Villamor pointed out.
He said Lopez was handcuffed on Monday to set an example to others who would want to disturb the services and operations of the city.
Meanwhile, the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) said Tuesday that it is doing its best to protect the interest of the public when the Lopez family tried to barricade the road leading to the dumpsite.
Superintendent Jefferson Descallar, deputy for operation of BCPO, said Lopez was arrested for grave coercion, resistance and disobedience to an agent in an authority, and obstruction.
He added that Lopez has been released after a settlement with the City Government. He also said it depends on the local government unit if it will continue to file cases against the Lopezes.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 19, 2014.