Raps filed vs ‘pine tree killers’ in Baguio
BAGUIO CITY – The city government on Friday filed a complaint against the directors of a corporation here for the alleged deliberate killing of 45 fully grown Benguet pine trees.
In a complaint filed before the city prosecutor, Mayor Benjamin Magalong, representing the city, said directors of the Gateluck Corporation should be held accountable for violating two provisions of the City Environment Code for man-made interventions that led to the death of the trees.
Named respondents in the complaint were Jasper Lao Golangco, Jeremy Wilson Golangco, Pompiduo Golangco, Imelda Lao, Esmeralda Lubos, and Lo Chen Wen, all residents of Baguio City.
The case stemmed from a July 11 report of the Forest and Watershed Management Division of the City Environment and Parks Management Office regarding a cluster of dead Benguet pine trees at a vacant lot in Burnham-Legarda village.
The 5,186-square meter lot belongs to Gateluck Corp., which purchased it from a certain Carmen Legarda Ayesa in 2018, according to records from the City Assessor’s Office.
A surprise inspection led by Magalong at the property on July 24 revealed that the trees bore 4-inch deep holes, a fourth of an inch wide, cleanly drilled at the lower trunk of the trees, and were used to infuse “poisonous or toxic substance.”
“They tortured the trees, intentionally killing them,” Magalong said.
Records showed the corporation’s contractor filed an excavation and ground permit with the City Buildings and Architecture Office but their application was returned due to deficiencies.
The respondents were not immediately available for comments.
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