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San Jose del Monte councilor raps mayor, solon, water district execs for murder over tank blast

/ 03:59 PM May 28, 2018
Office of the Ombudsman

Office of the Ombudsman

A councilor of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, has filed a murder complaint against Mayor Arthur Robes, Rep. Florida Robes, and six officials of the city’s water district in connection with the explosion of a water tank that resulted in four deaths last October.

Councilor Irene del Rosario, in a 20-page complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday, claimed the water tank in Barangay Muzon was deliberately exploded in an act of “terrorism” to justify the SJDM Water District’s joint venture with the Villar family’s Prime Water Corp.

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Del Rosario, assisted by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, mostly cited “circumstantial evidence” that she claimed was “sufficient to conclude there is probable cause” that the respondents committed murder.

She cited the sworn statements of two men, Noli and Rex Barcelona, who were supposedly hired by Mayor Robes’ purported personal secretary Perfecto Tagalog to frame her for the tank explosion.

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Del Rosario also claimed there was a “presumption of authorship” on the Robeses’ part because they “stand to get big commissions” from the privatization of the city’s water supply.

Del Rosario said the fact that the explosion occurred in the dark during the wee hours of Oct. 6 last year was “one big probable cause that the explosion was intentionally done.”

Citing news reports quoting Engineer Loreto Limcolioc, the general manager of the water district, Del Rosario claimed the explosion could have only been caused by the buildup of air pressure trapped in the water tank.

Without citing the basis for her claim, Del Rosario said the valve at the tank’s exit pipeline that delivers water to distribution lines could have been “closed air-tight.”

Meanwhile, water was still “continuously pumped into the tank” until the air pressure built up enough to burst the tank made of thin steel, she claimed.

Del Rosario claimed this coincided with the overseas travels of Rep. Robes and three water district officials supposedly to “make it appear that they were not the authors” of the purported crime.

The councilor also cited the speech made by Mayor Robes during an Oct. 2 flag ceremony, four days before the tank explosion.

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Del Rosario said Mayor Robes sharply criticized and even cursed her for opposing the unsolicited joint venture proposal made by Prime Water.

She said Mayor Robes had been “brave and very bold in making moves to ensure that the joint-venture agreement is ensured,” when the city water district should be independent from the city government.

Del Rosario also called out Rep. Robes for delivering two privilege speeches before the House of Representatives to criticize the opponents of the Prime Water joint venture.

“The act of blowing up the water tank was the final nail that sealed the coffin of justice to the fight of the opposition to the privatization of San Jose del Monte Water District through a partnership with Prime Water, Inc.,” the complaint claimed.

Rep. Robes did not respond to the Inquirer’s request for comment, and Prime Water did not pick up calls made to a telephone number posted on its website. Meanwhile, a representative of the SJDM Water District said they would read the complaint first before issuing a statement.

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TAGS: Arthur Robes, Barangay Muzon, Bulacan, Philippine news updates, San Jose del Monte, SJDM Water District
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