11 CamSur gov’t employees file police complaints vs Rep. Andaya
PILI, Camarines Sur --- Almost a dozen members of Camarines Sur’s Sagip Kalikasan Task Force (SKTF) trooped to the Pili Municipal Police Station here to report the acts of physical and verbal abuse that they suffered last week in the hands of Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. who wanted them to abandon clearing operations for the Naga airport modernization project that is part of the centerpiece “Build Build Build” program of President Duterte. Eleven SKTF members complained to the police about the violent acts committed against them last April 18 by a knife-wielding Andaya who was accompanied by his armed bodyguards and Pili Mayor Tomas Bongalonta Jr. at the start of the clearing operations for this airport expansion project in Barangay San Agustin in the town of Pili. Based on the official police blotter entries, among those who complained to the police last week were Lito Sumpay, Ryan Herrera, Saetiel Pielago and Angelo Refran, all of whom reported that Andaya had terrorized them with a knife and threatened them with harm if they do not leave Camarines Sur right away. One of the complainants, Anna Marie Macarubbo, who suffered physical injuries after one of Andaya’s bodyguards shoved her almost to the ground, said she saw and heard Andaya shouting and hurling invectives at her fellow SKTF volunteers. When Andaya saw her, Macarubbo said the congressman pulled her ID that was placed around her neck, almost choking her. The other SKTF members who caught Andaya’s eye were either punched, shoved, cursed at and threatened with harm and their cellphones and other personal belongings seized by the congressman and his armed bodyguards. One of them, Sumpay, said Andaya held him by the jaw and told him: “Ayaw kita makita sa Camsur! Pag nakita kita may gagawin ako sayong masama! According to several of the SKTF members who complained to the police, they were puzzled as to why Andaya would interfere and vehemently oppose the airport development project under President Duterte’s ‘Build,Build, Build” program when the project is located in Camarines Sur’s third district, which is beyond the congressman’s jurisdiction because he represents the first district. Andaya’s violent tirade in Barangay San Agustin was followed by his continued acts of harassment at the Pili Municipal Station, where he proceeded after learning that his victims went to the police station to report Andaya’s assault and seek police protection. This time, Andaya’s violent acts at the police precinct were caught on video, which has now gone viral on social media (see related story). In the video clip, an enraged Andaya is shown hurling insults at another person, who --based on subsequent media reports -- turned out to be Rep. LRay Villafuerte, and challenging him to a fight outside the police precinct. Villafuerte was in the police station at that time to comfort and look into the welfare of the victims, many of whom were Villafuerte’s employees when he was still Camarines Sur governor. Later, Andaya is seen holding in a chokehold one person who had tried to pacify him and convince him to peacefully leave the precinct. While strangling the person, Andaya continued to curse him and threaten him, “Bakit papalag ka?... Palibhasa nana ka… Aabangan kita pare.” Witnesses claimed that while at the precinct and before accosting Villafuerte, Andaya had also assaulted and seized the cellular phone of a lady who had tried to record the incident as he angrily scoured the station in search of Villafuerte. The provincial government of Camarines Sur has been overseeing the implementation of the Naga Airport Development Project on the strength of the province’s Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in November 2016. Under the MOA, the DOTr had committed to set aside P402 million for this airport project--to be taken from the DOTr’s budget in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2015--for the acquisition of lots for the affected residents and for their resettlement as well. The provincial government, in turn, was tasked under the MOA to identify the affected residents and to supervise the purchase of their lots, based on the principle of just compensation, and their relocation elsewhere. Moreover, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pili issued on July 5, 2017 a Writ of Possession ordering the affected residents not to exercise their rights over their lots and to vacate these in favor of the DOTr project. Even before the court’s issuance of this Writ, the provincial started three years ago negotiating with the concerned farmers and their tenants and even with informal settlers on the expropriation of the area. In fact, a majority of the affected ones had already formally decided to turn over their lots to the provincial government while a number have agreed in principle to do so and are just awaiting the court’s decision on what the “just compensation” should be for their property. To speed up the expropriation process and settle the issue amicably, the provincial government has opted to pay both the landowners and the tenants who have been tilling the affected lots.