Raps filed vs 8 tagged in violent demolitionBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The police filed direct assault charges Tuesday against eight people who they believe instigated the violence which broke out as a demolition team tore down houses built on a government-owned property in Makati City.
Those charged in the city prosecutor’s office following their arrest were Dennis Leona, 21; Romulo Leona, 43; Jerric Abrogar; Ricardo Tarrayo, 20; Michael de Lima, 36; Gildo Gonzales, 20; Rodito Yaranon, 34 and Jestoni Pagamocan, 21.
All are residents of the 870-sq m lot on Guatemala Street, Barangay San Isidro, which was bought by the Makati City government in 2005.
The property is being eyed as the site of a barangay community complex complete with a health center and covered court.
“There will be more charges and the charge sheet will be soon updated,” Senior Superintendent Manuel Lukban, Makati police chief, said.
According to city hall records, 27 persons were injured—13 policemen, 11 personnel of the City Engineering Department, a city public safety officer and two residents— when residents threw rocks, molotov bombs, broken glass and human waste at the demolition team and policemen.
Some government vehicles and equipment were also damaged, including police cars, fire trucks and police shields.
Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay said the city’s legal department were preparing to file charges of assault, physical injuries and damage to government property against leaders of the Guatemala Neighborhood Association headed by their president, Nilo Ojos.
He pointed out that the affected residents were given options and ample time to leave the area voluntarily so they had no reason to resort to violence.
Binay also belied their claims that the relocation site in Calauan, Laguna, had no water supply, electricity or livelihood opportunities.
“Such an oft-repeated line is typical of professional squatters who make a living [by] using government properties,” he said.