Antique town mayor suspended for illegal demolition

MANILA-- The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has ordered the suspension for six months of Caluya, Antique Mayor Genevieve Lim-Reyes after she was found guilty of oppression.

The suspension order came after the Ombudsman found that Reyes unlawfully authorized the clearing operation on a five-hectare coconut farmland in Sitio Poocan, Barangay Tinogboc in February 2014.

The clearing operation was allegedly undertaken in order to pave the way for a housing project to relocate residents from Sitio Sabang to Sitio Poocan.

The Ombudsman said Reyes failed to present any application from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) for the cutting of coconut trees or land conversion.

In July 2014, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) requested Reyes to stop all relocation, eviction and demolition due to lack of proper and adequate consultation with the affected residents.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman said that no Sanggunian resolution supporting the housing project was presented as legal basis for respondent's directive to clear and level the land. This reinforces the conclusion that the clearing operation was made without due process of law.

The Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 promotes a policy of consultation prior to the implementation of certain projects consistent with the spirit of due process.

Source: Philippine News Agency