The National Bureau of Investigation yesterday announced the arrest of three persons for allegedly occupying a public forest land.
NBI Officer-In-Charge Eric B. Distor identified the suspects as Danilo Montes, Gilbert Ramiso, and Johnedel Bondad.
Their arrest stemmed from an intelligence report received by the NBI-Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) that a group of individuals were allegedly occupying a parcel of land classified as Public Forest Land in Bgy. San Rafael, San Felipe, Zambales, without any permit or authority under existing laws.
Surveillance conducted by the NBI-EnCD verified that there was indeed illegal occupation of a public forest land as they witnessed and observed a newly constructed two-storey building surrounded by a newly established perimeter fence located within the public forest land.
The team also witnessed the operation of a backhoe extracting mineral sand in Sto. Niño River and loaded it on a pay loader/ wheel loader. They used the extracted sand as filling materials to the forest land they are illegally occupying.
With sufficient evidence on hand, NBI-ENCD proceeded to the target area and conducted an operation. Upon arrival, the raiding team noticed the two-story building erected in the public forest land and two dump trucks.
The NBI operatives arrested the two truck drivers, and the owner of the two-story building who failed to show any permits and clearances to occupy and construct improvement within the area.
Also, an unlicensed. 45 caliber pistol was seized in the two-story building.
Suspects were presented for inquest proceedings before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Zambales for violation of Section 78 (formerly Section 69) of Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order 277 and Republic Act 7161, otherwise known as the “Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines”.
In addition, suspect Montes was also charged for violation of Sec. 28 of RA 10951, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act” for unlawful acquisition or possession of firearms and ammunition.