Barangay Kapitan under probe for cutting coconut tree

FOR cutting one coconut tree along a road right of way, a barangay chairman of Dagupan is facing investigation before the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP).

Gregorio Taminaya, punong barangay of Bacayao Sur, is the subject of an administrative complaint filed before the SP by one Arsenia Soriano, the owner of the felled coconut tree, who accused Taminaya of illegally cutting her tree.

In his counter-affidavit dated September 26, 2018, Taminaya said the complaint  “is without any legal basis.”

The barangay chairman said the coconut tree was in the path obstructing access of vehicles to the construction site for a dike along the Pantal River and claimed that its continued existence hampered mobility of vehicles.

Besides, he said, the barangay council secured the necessary permit for the cutting down of the coconut tree from the Philippine National Authority (PCA).

Soriano seized the permit issued by PCA from one “Itong”, who was tasked by Taminaya to cut down the coconut tree, who was escorted by Felix Tamayo, a barangay tanod.

Taminaya maintained that his action was also well within the ambit of the law, specifically Article 51, Chapter IV (Utilization of Waters) of Presidential Decree No. 1067 (A decree Instituting a Water Code, Thereby Revising and Consolidating the laws Governing Ownership, Appropriation, Utilization, Exploitation Development, Conservation and Protection of Water Resources).

The barangay chairman contended that further survey conducted on the land being claimed by the complainant as her property is within the area described in Article 51 and thus the same is subject to the easement of public use in the interest of the common good of the people who suffer every time flood water seeps in their barangay.

The complainant is the wife of the late Avelino Soriano, son of deceased Patricia Cardozo, the registered owner of a parcel of land classified as accretion area covered by a tax declaration from the City Assessors’ Office, consisting of 1,420 square meters.

In her affidavit, Arsenia alleged that the coconut tree was within the area described in the tax declaration.

Taminaya disputed this, saying the complainant is not the real party in interest to file the complaint. He said it is the estate of the deceased owner who must file the complaint if indeed a wrong had been incurred to the estate.

At the same time, Taminaya presented a picture showing that the coconut tree was located outside the barbed wire installed to demarcate the property described in the tax declaration, further bolstering his position that the case must be dismissed. (Leonardo Micua)

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