QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed the cases against Mayor Herbert Bautista and six others for the alleged illegal demolition last year of the houses of two beneficiaries of the Community Mortgage Program.
Bautista was cleared of charges of grave coercion, malicious mischief and illegal demolition which were lodged by two residents of Batasan Hills.
The cases against secretary to the mayor Tadeo Palma, Marlowe Jacutin and Lolita Mercado of Task Force Copriss, Ramon Asprer of the Urban Poor Affairs Office, Lolita Mercado, Noel Orpiada and Rodolfo Abraham of the Sandigan ng Maralita sa Batasan Hills Homeowners Association were also junked.
Assistant city prosecutor Maximo Usita Jr. said he found no probable cause to warrant the indictment of the respondents in court.
The cases stemmed from the claims of Artemio Advincula and Rolando Sangyahon Jr. who accused Abraham, Mercado and Orpiada of illegally demolishing their houses along Presidential Road, Batasan Hills, on Sept. 14, 2012.
The three respondents and their teams allegedly carried out the demolition on orders from higher-ups.
Advincula and Sangyahon said their property was covered by a lease-purchase agreement under the Quezon City CMP.
In their joint counter-affidavit, Bautista and the other respondents said the complainants’ houses were demolished since they were illegally occupying the property.
The officials also argued that they implemented the demolition in line with the reblocking scheme of the CMP.
In the counter-affidavit, Bautista claimed that the complainants can be summarily and legally evicted from the property for failing to pay their monthly amortization for 15 years.
Meanwhile, Abraham said he was at home conducting a “self-demolition” of his shanty to comply with the reblocking scheme to ensure that the structure would occupy the exact area marked in the lot assignment.