DENR official under fire for illegal quarrying

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LUCENA CITY, Quezon: The chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management (DENR-EMB) here is facing a complaint for allegedly illegal mining and quarrying.

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The complaint was filed recently by Dominador Villanueva, chief of the National Bureau of Investigation-Lucena District Office (NBI-Lucdo), before the Ombudsman for Luzon against Noemi Paranada, DENR-EMB chief of Region 4A.

Villanueva included in his complaint several individuals, among them Paranada’s driver Rogelio Yadao, alleged bagman Norman Sumadsad and certain quarry operators in Sariaya town including Loreto and Lanie Pasumbal, Renates Pasumbal, Donnalene Jane Atienza, Allen Atienza Sr. and Dawn Atienza.

In the complaint submitted to the Ombudsman on September 15, he charged Paranada and the others with violations of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), the Code of Ethics for Government Officials and Employees, direct bribery and corruption of public officials, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1995.

In a raid on quarry operations in Sariaya in October 2016 by DENR Undersecretary Arturo Valdez, NBI-Quezon, Philippine National Police-Quezon and Philippine Coast Guard. according to Villanueva, all quarry operators were found illegally operating, resulting in revocation of their Environmental Clearance Certificates (ECCs).

It was then that the NBI-Lucdo personnel were designated as deputy environment and natural resources officers.

Villanueva said in December 2016 in a meeting, Paranada proposed to him if he wanted to make a “raket” (racket) in Quezon.

He found out that Paranada’s “raket” meant issuance of an ECC for P250,000 to P300,000 and she was also referring to monthly collections from the quarry operators.

Paranada allegedly promised this “raket” to Villanueva, knowing he is a deputized DENR officer in the province.

Dismissing her proposal, Villanueva said he learned later that Paranada obtained the services of Sumadsad to accompany her, with the latter identifying himself to quarry operators as a DENR or an NBI staff.

He alleged that Paranada’s driver, Yadao, gathers cash from the quarry operators and delivering it to Paranada.

Villanueva stated in his affidavit that Paranada stayed in Lucena City between January and April 2017, the months when new ECCs are granted to quarry operators.

He said these ECCs are invalid because they were paired with old quarry permits issued by the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB).

All the PMRB permits issued, according to Villanueva, were voided in October 2016 when the ECCs were canceled in the raid in Sariaya.

Even if the quarry operators showed special permit from the PMRB, he said, the provincial governor can only issue special permits as extension for the current permit.

In his complaint, Villanueva requested that Paranada be suspended or transferred to prevent her from influencing investigation.

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