Prosecutor junks case for death of Baguio pine trees: No evidence
BAGUIO CITY—The City Prosecutor’s Office has dropped the complaint filed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong against six officers of a corporation for the death of 45 fully grown Benguet pine trees for lack of sufficient evidence.
In an Aug. 22 decision that was made public only on Wednesday, Oct. 2, Deputy City Prosecutor Conrado Catral Jr. said the evidence provided by Magalong “had not fully established the probable criminal culpability” of the officers of Gateluck Corporation for violation of the city’s Environment Code.
Catral said although there was a violation of the law, the evidence did not point to any or all of the respondents named in the complaint.
“We are one with (Magalong) in his efforts at enforcing the Environment Code, and in punishing the appropriate persons who ought to be made responsible for its violation,” Catral said.
Catral said Magalong should have shown “positive evidence, to the point of moral certainty,” that the respondents were the ones who actually violated the code,
On Aug. 2, Magalong filed the environmental complaint against directors of the corporation after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources found that calcium carbide was used to poison the pine trees at the 51-square meter lot at the Burnham-Legarda village.
The corporation reportedly planned to build a mall in the area.
Magalong was not immediately available for comment. Karlston Lapniten/TSB
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