ILOILO – The fact-finding committee created by Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. found no concrete evidence to prove that illegal quarry existed in Jalaur River along Sitio Pandan, Barangay Nabitasan, Leganes town.
In a report they publicly released on Thursday, the committee chaired by Atty. Suzette Mamon of Provincial Legal Office subsequently cleared Francisco Carton, the subject of the complaint, of illegal quarrying.
Their findings stated that “evidence shows that Carton is a holder of quarry permit situated in Brgy. Tubigan, Zarraga. That he extracted from his permit area in Brgy. Tubigan and not [in] Brgy. Nabitasan.”
The creation of the fact-finding committee stemmed from April 3, 2014 letter-complaint from anonymous citizen alleging that Carton was illegally extracting sand and gravel at the area. The complaint was backed with photographs showing the alleged illegal activity.
But the investigation held on May 5, 12, 13 and 15 revealed that the photos taken by Tara Yap, a freelance photojournalist, and Ricardo Octavio of Panay News as evidence was not taken in Brgy. Nabitasan but somewhere in the vicinity of Zarraga.
It also showed that Carton’s quarry materials, located at the side of the concrete breakwater along Jalaur River in Brgy. Nabitasan, were not sourced from the area but from Janiuay, Calinog and Cabatuan.
The committee further stated that the testimony of Yap alleging that the extraction was made in the area was not supported and substantiated by other evidence.
“While she testified on the pictures she took in the area of Brgy. Nabitasan, the said evidence will not stand on its own without the corroboration of other proofs that illegal quarrying existed in the area,” the report said.
The residents of Brgys. Nabitasan and Tubigan also denied any knowledge of illegal quarrying during the conduct of field investigation by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources personnel.
While there was no sufficient evidence to prove the existence of illegal quarry operation, the committee recommends that PENRO must conduct strict and thorough monitoring of quarry extraction in Jalaur River. #2014News