Fact-finding bodies formed vs illegal mining, logging

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 05 2012 05:51 PM | Updated as of Nov 06 2012 01:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Joint fact-finding committees on illegal logging and illegal mining activities have been created by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources pursuant to a directive from President Benigno Aquino.

Aquino earlier ordered the 3 departments "to meet and plan to intensify the implementation of the anti-illegal logging and anti-illegal mining campaign and to ensure the conviction of those those people who violate the law."

Joint Dept. Order (DO) No. 001-2012 "Creating and Constituting a Joint DENR-DILG-DOJ Fact-finding Committee on Illegal Logging" was inked by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on October 10.

They also formalized Joint DO No. 002-2012 on the same day "Creating and Constituting a Joint DOJ-DILG-DENR Fact-finding Committee on Illegal Mining."

The Joint Fact-finding Committee on Illegal Logging is composed of the following:

  • Usec. Demetrio Ignacio, Jr., DENR
  • OIC Asst. Sec. Marlo Mendoza, DENR
  • Atty. Ranny Spencer Palisoc, DILG
  • Special Agent (SA) Reynaldo memo, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
  • PSSupt. Wilson Caubat, Philippine National Police (PNP)
  • PSupt. Henry Libat, PNP
  • Asst. State Prosecutor (ASP) Gil Marie Pacamarrra

"The Joint Fact-finding Committee shall take charge of the investigation, collection of evidence, case build-up and filing of appropriate charges in cases involving illegal logging operations, including incidents of violence against, or killing of forest rangers, DENR officials, and those charged with enforcing and implementing anti-illegal logging laws, or otherwise involved in the fight against illegal logging," the order read.

The Joint Fact-finding Committee on Illegal Mining, meantime, is composed of the following:

  • Usec. Demetrio Ignacio, Jr., DENR
  • Dir. Leo Jasareno, Mines and Geosciences Bureau
  • Atty. Alvin Giolagon, DILG
  • PSSupt. Danilo Pelisco, PNP
  • H.A. Sixto Coloma, NBI
  • ASP Gil Marie Fe Pacamarra

It will take charge of the "investigation, collection of evidence, case build-up and filing of appropriate charges in cases involving illegal mining operations, including incidents of violence against those charged with enforcing and implementing anti-illegal mining laws, or otherwise involved in the fight against illegal mining."

"These fact-finding committees, which directly report to us three Cabinet secretaries and, through us, to the President, were created to ensure that the investigations and the case build-up are effective in rooting out those responsible for the persistence of these illegal activities, including and especially those who resort to violence against law enforcers and anti-illegal logging and anti-illegal mining activists, are all brought to justice," de Lima said in a statement.

"We fear, as it has indeed been reported, that the reason why these illicit operations still persist is because there are strategically positioned government agents, officers or officials who protect these operations. If they think they are untouchable, by the creation and operations of these committees, we intend to disabuse them of such notion," she added.

The committees will meet for the first time not later than 30 days from the signing of the orders.