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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, November 23, 2013
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We’re open to talks
with officials: Lopezes

BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

The spokesperson of the Lopez family, said they are always open to a dialog with the Bacolod city officials to resolve the conflict involving the sanitary landfill in Brgy. Felisa, Bacolod City.

Roy Lopez, representative of the Lopez family and owners of Dynasty Agri-Aqua Corp., said they had initiated the invitation and they were waiting for Mayor Monico Puentevella’s response since they had set the date on October 25, or at his convenient time, but he never confirmed the meeting.

“We have always been friends and always had open lines for communication with the Mayor. When the landfill ownership case erupted we tried to converse with the Mayor on the matter but we were faced with cold and harsh response,” he said.

Lopez said that even though the city is fully aware that the property’s title is in their name, they have acted on plans without, at least informing them, which he considers total disrespect and disregard of their rights.

But even though they are the aggrieved and trespassed party, they are open to a dialog with the Mayor and his staff in the hope of bringing a peaceful resolution between them, he said.

Puentevella said the current problem did not start with his administration and he only inherited it. He cannot understand why he is being blamed for the impasse and is now being threatened by one of the Lopezes, he said.

‘THEY STARTED IT’

He is opening the issue on tax payment of the Lopezes because they started it all, Puentevella said.

Lopez said it is actually a good point that Puentevella is questioning their responsibility in paying taxes over their Hda. Felisa sanitary landfill, which they did.

“He is actually accepting that the landfill property belongs to us and not the city’s. We therefore, thank the good Mayor for the inquiry,” he said.

Ever since, Puentevella has been a family friend and has known them to be responsible people. But he will not answer him directly because he will not stoop down from their original concern or contention which is about the sale and ownership of the sanitary landfill, Lopez said.

‘MALICIOUS INTENT’

Lopez said he believes that the statement of the Mayor has a malicious intent to again intimidate them by the use of power and authority and degrade their credibility.

“This way of attacking our family is below the belt (or foul), very unprofessional and an oppressive tactic coming from a high ranking public official, bullying simple private citizen such as our family. This again is an abuse of authority which can be tantamount to grave coercion,” he said.

Puentevella had advised Lopez to sit down and talk with the city officials, and to stop threatening him.

This was after Lopez said he was filing charges against Puentevella and others involved in the reopening of the sanitary landfill in Brgy. Felisa when he was prevented by the police from padlocking the gate of the sanitary landfill Tuesday on orders of the Mayor.

The 7-hectare landfill facility, that was padlocked on October 4 by the Lopez family who are demanding payment from the city for the balance of P3.8 million for the purchase of the property, was reopened by Puentevella and other city officials Monday.

‘OUTNUMBERED, POWERLESS’

“Who sent a large number of heavily armed police force to our private property knowing that we will be outnumbered and powerless to face them?” Lopez asked. This order from the city’s chief official has brought great fear to him and his family, so that they are now constantly unsure of their safety, he said.

As for the filing of charges against Puentevella, City Administrator Rolando Villamor, Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel, Bacolod City Police Director, and other police officials present at the sanitary landfill, Lopez said this is not a threat against the Mayor, but they are only responding as private citizens who know their rights and will stand for it.

“We have lost a lot and are afraid, but we have to counteract,” Lopez added.*CGS

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