ALIAGA, Nueva Ecija – An incumbent barangay chairman eluded arrest after authorities armed with a court-issued search warrant raided his premises and seized less than half-a-million-pesos worth of various undocumented hardwood species found stored inside his residential compound on Tuesday here.
Town police head Major Marlon Cudal identified the at-large barangay official as Roman “Bobot” Gamboa III, of Bgy. Bucot, said to be affiliated with the Vargases, with son David Angelo Vargas as the incumbent town mayor.
Cudal said the search operation was conducted at 10 a.m. and led by his men and members of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-MuHoz Science City office led by Florencio Lalu, and the military under the 84th Infantry Battalion’s Alpha company of 1Lt. Arnold QuiHon.
He said it was implemented based on a search warrant issued by Judge Ana Marie C. Joson-Viterbo, executive judge of regional trial court branch 24, Cabanatuan City.
However, during the raid, Gamboa, who is also allegedly a quarry operator was nowhere to be found for he was said to be in Cabanatuan City doing another business, Cudal told this reporter yesterday.
Seized during the anti-illegal logging operation were undocumented wood items consisting of 453 pieces of various variety of common hardwood species, having a total volume of 12,215 board feet with a market value of P488,600.
“Mga assorted na kahoy bundok ang nakumpiska namin ng DENR, may iba pang kahoy nandoon, mga mahogany, acacia at gmelina pero may permit ito at gagawing paleta daw dahil sa may kontrata daw si Kapitan sa taga-NFA, tapos mayroon ding mga hamba nandoon donated daw kay Kapitan,” said Cudal.
Cudal said the seized items were brought to the DENR-MuHoz Science city office while charges for violation of P.D. 705 as amended by R.A. 7161 were being prepared for filing against the at-large barangay official before the provincial prosecutor’s office.