CITY OF MALOLOS – After two days of probing and investigation, the Provincial Government of Bulacan filed a suit on theft of minerals before the Regional Trial Court Fiscal’s Office last Monday versus the two drivers who were caught illegally transporting two slabs of tea rose marble on January 19, 2019 in Angat town.
Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has instructed Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Head Elizabeth Apresto to file the case against the drivers namely Dennis Villarin, 48, and Jon Dagon, 28.
Apresto said that they were in full force in monitoring the area last Saturday when one of their teams saw the two dump trucks carrying the slabs. They immediately reported it to her that led to the interception of shipment by the environment officials and policemen of the Municipality of Angat.
“They were 130 meters away from the team, nung makita nila hinabol nila agad, then report system, they reported to me. Ako naman, nireport ko kay Gob., sa mga pulis and other officials para masarahan at ma-alert lahat ng exit points,” Apresto said.
At 1:40 in the afternoon on that day, drivers Villarin and Dagon along with their three motorcycle escorts and two men in a Toyota Fortuner where one was introduced as a certain Mr. Sy were apprehended and were requested to follow the BENRO team to the Bulacan Police Provincial Office for questioning but the latter disappeared while traveling, leaving only the drivers with the officers.
While in custody, the drivers told the officials that the one supervising the trucking company where they are employed is Michael Lee while based on the OR/CR, Yonghai Wang is the owner of the trucks.
Before Sy unexpectedly vanished, he was claiming in a conversation with Apresto that their transaction was legal after a certain Bong Llanes, Undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, gave them a go signal that their Ore Transport Permit (OTP) has no expiration.
However, according to the officials, the OTP that they presented already expired in 2010, which was the same year when Alvarado banned the extraction of tea rose marble from Biak-na-Bato.
Apresto added that at present, the backhoe used to extract the marble as well as the truck used to transport it are at the custody of BPPO.
The two slabs of the rare marble amounting to more or less P200,000 were among the 257 blocks of marble stockpile that were turned over to the province through a Deed of Donation entered into by and between the DENR and the PGB in 2015 that originated from the cancelled Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of Rosemoor Mining and Development Corporation covering 330.3062 hectares in Biak-na-Bato and Doña Remedios Trinidad in 2010.
According to the DENR, the proceeds of the said stockpile shall be used exclusively for environmental projects and must redound to the benefit of the Province of Bulacan.