MANILA, Philippines – The city government of Makati is planning to file charges against 9 people, including the community leader of Guatemala Compound in Makati, for using violence to stop yesterday's demolition.
Makati Police chief Senior Superintendent Manuel Lukban said charges of direct assault, malicious mischief and physical injury are being prepared against Guatemala Neighborhood Association president Lino Ojos and eight other residents, namely:
- Dennis Leona
- Romulo Leona
- Rodito Llaranon
- Jestoni Pangamoan
- Ricardo Tarayo
- Jeric Abroga
- Hildo Gonzales
- Michael de Lima
At least 16 people, 9 of whom were policemen, were injured during Monday's violent demolition.
Makati Mayor Jejomar "Junjun" Binay Jr. said informal settlers used bottles and other hard objects to repel a team from implementing the demolition order. He said the settlers were informed as early as June that they needed to vacate the area in 30 days.
"Libu-libo iyung boteng inihagis diyan. Hindi pwedeng sabihing hindi pinagplanuhan ito. Sinasabi nila sundin ang batas. Sino ba dito ang di sumusunod sa batas? Pinilit naming maiwasan ang karahasan pero ito ang pinili ng mga tao dyan sa lugar ng Guatemala," he said in an interview on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
He also said the neighborhood association prevented some families from accepting financial assistance from the government.
Binay said of the 236 families in the compound, only 150 have so far availed of the financial assistance and agreed to be relocated to Calauan, Laguna.
He also dismissed some informal settlers' claim that there are no proper amenities in the relocation site in Laguna. He said the city government released millions to develop the site.
"Iyang sinasabing walang tubig, walang kuryente, walang kabuhayan. Gasgas na ho iyan. Iyan ang mga linya ng mga taong professional na ayaw lumisan sa mga lugar na pag-aari ng gobyerno," he said.
'We don't own the land'
Ojos admitted that the residents, some of whom have settled in the area as early as the 70s, do not own the land. However, they are asking the government to give it to them.
The city government bought the land in the early 2000s after its owner encountered problems due to the growing number of informal settlers.
Makati now plans to turn the lot into a community center and a sports complex.
Binay said the city government in 2004 under his father, then mayor Jejomar Binay, had ordered the residents to vacate the area. He said the courts had already decided several times in favor of the city government.
The National Capital Region Police Office and the Commission on Human Rights, meanwhile, said they will conduct their respective investigations to determine whether the police committed some violations.
Ojos, for his part, said he is ready to face the charges, but insisted that he never ordered his fellow residents to use violence.