DENR Sues 21 Execs for Cutting 982 Trees


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 has filed a criminal complaint last November 16 against 21 board of directors (BODs) and key officers of three corporations, a lot owner, and a steward before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Toledo City, Cebu over the cutting without a tree cutting permit of at least 982 naturally and planted trees in Barangay Talavera, Toledo City for a solar energy project.

treeThe case stemmed for violating section 77 of Presidential Decree (PD) 705 or the revised forestry code of the Philippines as amended by Executive Order No. 277 and as renumbered by Republic Act 7161 in relation to Executive Order No. 23.

In a charge sheet signed by Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer in Cebu City Raul Pasoc dated Nov. 16 which was received by the Prosecutor’s Office past 1 in the afternoon on the same day, it indicted nine BODs and key officers of Sunasia Energy Incorporated (SEI), namely, Noel Cariño (Chairman), Ma. Theresa Capellan (President), Cheerelyn Barrameda (Treasurer), Ulysses Bautista (Secretary), Diosdado Capellan, Holger Schenk, Godofredo Jalasco, Enrique Guanio, and Marcus Joel Ramos, all with principal address at 902 Paragon Plaza, EDSA cor. Reliance St., Mandaluyong Manila.

Also, nine BODs and key officers of Sta. Clara International Corporation were charged to include Nicandro Linao (President), Irma Linao (Vice President-Treasurer), Atty. Rio Ventura (Corporate Secretary), Asisclo Gonzaga (Special Adviser to the BOD), Carlos Hadap (Executive Vice President), Nobukazu Kotake (Senior Vice President Operations), Ulysses Bautista (Vice President for Business Development), Miguel Carlos Linao, and Oscar Batol, all with principal address at 2/F Highway 54 Plaza, EDSA Wack-wack, Mandaluyong City, Manila.

Included in the same charged sheet were First Toledo Solar Energy Corporation represented by its General Manager Engr. Sammy Baybay with office address in Talavera Toledo City; Gino Baltao of No.1, Col. Martelino St., Heroes Hills, Quezon City, Manila; and Allan Navales of Hacienda Baltao, Talavera, Toledo City.

It could be recalled that cease and desist order was signed by Pasoc last Oct. 28 directing SEI through its project manager Jose Enrique Tolentino to immediately stop the further destruction of trees. However, a week after the two CDO issued by CENRO Cebu City and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7, the inspecting team noted they continued the operations.

In a statement, DENR 7 Regional Director Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo said we continue to be very vigilant and mindful on certain activities that harm and destroy our environment and natural resources.

“We will not hesitate to file the appropriate case if warranted on those individuals who desecrate our environment,” added Montejo.

The total volume of trees cut is approximately 2,190 cubic meters or equivalent to 928,560 board feet with an estimated cost of 18.5 million pesos. One board foot is computed at 20 pesos.

Similarly, the EMB 7 which issued the environmental compliance certificate numbered ecc-OL-2015-0025 to First Solar Energy Corporation came out a notice of violation (nov) last November 2. The said NOV was signed by EMB7 Regional Director William Cuñado.

Based on the memorandum addressed to Pasoc by Environment and Natural Resources Office Toledo City supervisor Lutheran Hernando, about 982 naturally and planted trees were illegally cut including one Lamio tree with a buttress measuring five meters in diameter and believed to be a century old tree. Other tree species include Tipolo, Pangantoon, Bangkal, Bagalunga, Lanutan, Acacia, Narra, Mahogany, and Gmelina.

SAEI, which developed the area to make way for a solar project within a 113-hectare in Brgy. Talavera, Toledo City failed to show a tree cutting permit when inspectors from DENR-7’s enforcement division, CENRO Cebu City, Environment and Natural Resources Office Toledo City station last October 26. –