The Lopez family was prevented by the police from trying to padlock again the main gate of the sanitary landfill in Brgy. Felisa, Bacolod City, yesterday that was reopened by the Mayor Monday by exercising his police powers.
The 7-hectare sanitary landfill was padlocked by the Lopez family on October 4 after the city government refused to settle the remaining P3.8 million balance of the total P23.8 million cost of property due to the disallowance by the Commission on Audit.
Brothers Jose Manuel and Roy Lopez, together with their nephew, Teddy, were barred by Police Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel, Bacolod City Police Director, and elements of Police Station 10 and the Public Safety Batallion from closing the main gate of the sanitary landfill yesterday upon orders of Mayor Monico Puentevella who had issued a memorandum directing Ordaniel to deploy a sufficient number of police personnel at the sanitary landfill on a 24-hour basis, in order to protect the government's property.
Roy Lopez, spokesman of the Dynasty Agri-Aqua Ventures Corp., questioned the authority of Puentevella to re-open the gate of the sanitary landfill, saying the Mayor needs authority from the Sangguniang Panlungsod to implement police powers to remove the padlock.
He said he had the incident recorded in the police blotter yesterday.
Roy Lopez said they still have the title of the property, which is under the name of Dynasty Agri-Aqua Ventures Corporation, and not the Mapua and Cabayao families, as claimed by Puentevella.
They are contemplating to file charges for trespassing against Puentevella and other city officials who were present when the sanitary landfill was reopened Monday, he added.
Roy proceeded to the Felisa property at about 4 p.m. yesterday with Teddy and two security guards to padlock the gate of the sanitary landfill. Jose Manuel joined them later and demanded to see the order showing that the Mayor has authority to exercise police power to reopen the landfill.
The two hour stand-off ended past 6 p.m. yesterday when an order issued by Puentevella directing the police to secure the property was later delivered to the site that was read by Chief Insp. Noel Polines, BCPO Operations Chief, before the Lopez family.
Jose Manuel Lopez said their family still owns the property unless the city settles the balance of P3.8 million.
Upon his arrival at the sanitary landfill area, Roy Lopez asked the police officers to leave the site telling them that they still legally own the property due to the failure of the city to settle its remaining balance.
But Police Station 10 commander Senior Insp. Ruel Culanag and Public Safety Batalion deputy commander Senior Insp.Leilanie Garcia said their purpose was only to secure and maintain order in the area.
During an earlier press conference, Roy said they are demanding that the city pay its remaining balance of P3.8 million. The Court said the price of the property was a good price at that time and it was only after that decision that the COA disallowed the remaining balance, he said.
Roy said they are open to a dialog with the city. But it did not attempt to talk to them before it reopened the gate of the sanitary landfill, which he believes is an abuse of authority.
He said they lent their property to the city government for nine to 10 years for its use as an open dumpsite because it was their intention to help the city. “But now our generosity is being abused,” he said.
They were surprised that the city reopened the gate of the sanitary landfill without informing them. They plan to padlock the gate again to prevent the dumping of garbage in the facility, Roy said.
Ordaniel said that the city needs the property
to dump its segregated garbage and warned that anybody who closes the property will face arrest.
Roy said there was no ground for the city to open the landfill because it needs to have an approval from the SP first.
AL CAPONE OR DIRTY HARRY
He does not know what style Puentevella is using, whether Al Capone style or Dirty Harry which is no longer applicable in the present set up, he said.
“You have to go through the proper protocol, procedure or protest because there is a proper way of doing things. Even criminals are issued warrants of arrest. This is clearly trespassing,” he added.
Lopez said he believes that the mayor is not well versed with legalities because the title of the property is not yet in the city’s hand and is still in their name.
He also revealed that a part of their property, which is being leased by former 5th District Board Member Dr. Melvin Ybanez, was bulldozed by the city for road clearing without informing them.
Meanwhile, Puentevella "Let them make my day,” in a text message when asked for his reaction to the plans of the Lopez family to again padlock the gate of the sanitary landfill.*CGS