Provincial Legal Office (PLO) chief lawyer Nilo Ahat has denied allegations of Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan that Governor Art Yap’s in-laws were involved in illegal quarry operations in the municipality.
“Amo nanang gitan-aw, walay quarry ang mga Varquez sa Loboc,” said Ahat during the Capitol’s weekly press briefing on Friday.
Ahat, who is also the head of the Bohol Environment Protection Task Force(BEPTF), issued the statement a week after Yap called for a probe into the illegal quarry site in Barangay Buenavista, Loboc which is allegedly owned by Fortunato Varquez, Sr., an in-law of the governor.
According to Ahat, the Varquez family allowed the Provincial Engineering Office to extract limestone in their lot for the Loboc-Lila road project in 2010.
“Mao nay gigamit sa atong Provincial Engineering as source sa ilang gratuitous permit para sa Loboc-Lila road project, unya kini diha kuhaa kay gitugutan sa mga Varquez na libre,” he said.
The province’s chief lawyer also denied Calipusan’s allegation that Muaña Construction and Development Corporation which was caught carrying out illegal quarry operations at the Varquez’s land in December, 2020 was not fined accordingly.
Ahat said the provincial government imposed a penalty of P27,000 against Muaña and the amount was commensurate with the area quarried by the construction firm.
He added that they only fined Muaña for the newly extracted 150 cubic meters of limestone.
“Ang P27,000 mao nay equivalent penalty for the 150 cubic for the 150 cubic meters na measured from the freshly disturbed area na maoy atong gipabayran sa Muaña kay ang uban angang man og atong pabayron adtong gilunutan na sa sagbot na panahon pa sa 19 kupong-kupong,” said Ahat.
Last week, Calipusan alleged that Muaña was merely given a slap on the wrist for the violation and should have been fined P14.7 million, or P180 per cubic meter for 82,000 cubic meters of quarried area.
He said that Muaña had no permit when they were quarrying in Barangya Buenavista.
The mayor also accused Muaña of having been noted to be a favored construction firm of the provincial government and Yap during his nine-year stint as congressman of the third district.
“Nagduda ko og kinsa ilang gipananghiran na isog man sila kaayo mo [quarry] didto na wala silay permit. Naay gisaligan, daghan kaayo’g project sa provincial government karon, sa panahon pud ni congressman Art Yap na siya pay congressman sa third district daghan kaayo siyang nakuhang project sa congressman, milyones,” said Calipusan. (RT)