The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of criminal charges against Baguio City Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr. and three private contractors for occupying and destroying the forest on Mt. Sto. Tomas in Tuba, Benguet.
In a resolution dated Jan. 30, Benguet provincial prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamarra charged private contractors William Go, Romeo Aquino and Bernard Capuyan for sending heavy equipment to flatten three hectares of forest reserves, the area being claimed by Aliping.
Mt. Sto. Tomas has been declared as a forest reserve by the government since the 1940s.
The case against Aliping stemmed from a complaint filed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Benguet last year.
Environment groups filed petitions deploring the cutting of at least 300 pine trees and saplings to pave the way for the construction of a road leading to Aliping’s property.
Aliping said the road was a project of the Department of Public Works and Highways, but the DPWH belied his claims.Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Pacamarra said they found probable cause to charge Aliping for the destruction of the forest, based on his letter to Tuba Mayor Florencio Benitez assuming responsibility for the damage to the Amaliang spring reserve.
The damage affected the water supply in areas served by the Baguio City Water District.