Baguio congressman indicted for tree cutting in forest reserve
BAGUIO City Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr. and three others have been indicted in the Sandiganbayan for the illegal cutting of trees inside a forest reserve and watershed in Tuba town, Benguet province.
“It is clear as daylight that the cutting of trees and other earth-moving activities were done without authority,” read a statement issued by the Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday.
“Aliping’s use of the three backhoes/heavy equipment in his earth-moving activity is undisputed,” it added.
Citing Presidential Decree No. 705, or the Revised Forestry Code, the Ombudsman said it is unlawful to “cut, gather, collect, remove timber or other forest products from forest land without any authority.”
Besides Aliping, charged as private respondents were businessmen William Go, Bernard Capuyan and Romeo Aquino.
“Aliping admitted that no permits had been issued for the earth-moving activities and no documents were presented showing ownership over the property,” the Ombudsman said.
In its investigation, the Environmental Ombudsman said Aliping and his co-accused ordered the uprooting of 293 pine trees in a forest reserve area in Mt. Santo Tomas using heavy equipment.
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