Rea to Espino: Blame yourself, not others
BLACK SAND MINING CASES
LINGAYEN – A complainant against the illegal black sand mining in Lingayen said Pangasinan fifth district Representative Amado Espino Jr. should stop blaming others for the cases he is facing at the Sandiganbayan, specifically for the illegal black sand mining that the provincial government undertook when he was the governor of the province.
“Espino should stop using political harassment or politically motivated as alibis for his misdeeds. The elections are long over and it was the Sandiganbayan which issued the order for his preventive suspension,” Rolando Rea, a resident of Sabangaan said in a statement.
The black sand mining was started by the provincial government in April 5, 2010, and it was on January 2012 when barangay officials and residents of the affected barangays, including Rea, filed administrative and criminal complaints against Espino.
The complainants also filed cases against Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan, Pangasinan Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Officer Alvin Bigay and board of directors of Alexandra Mining and Xypher Builders.
The cases were filed when the May 2013 election was still far off, and it was the Tanggol Kalikasan, a non-government organization engaged in environmental protection programs, that legally supported the group.
It was former Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza was to advise the complainants to seek the help of Tanggol Kalikasan which was then holding an office in Alaminos City.
“Other than that, no politician was behind the filing of the administrative and criminal cases against Espino and the others,” Rea said.
He added that the complainants, specifically him, have no connection whatsover with former Pangasinan fifth district Congressman Mark Cojuangco.
“I do not even assume that he knows me,” he said.
The illegal black sand mining was started in 2010 and the group filed the cases in 2012 when Espino and Cojuangco were close friends and political allies.
It was only when Cojuangco announced that he was running for governor during the 2016 local election that the two parted ways. By then, the Office of the Ombudsman has already issued a resolution ordering the filing of graft charges against Espino and the others.
“I repeat, we did not allow politicians like Braganza or Cojuangco to use the illegal blacksand issue to advance their personal agenda, much less use it as a political propaganda,” Rea said.
He said it was the mass media that continuously help the residents in their fight to stop the illegal activity and for them to regain the coastal area and the sea, access to which was denied to the residents when the provincial government built a three-kilometer, six-meter high concrete wall along the mining site.
He added that was Vicente Oliquito and the other original complainants who were used by Espino for his political advancement. Because of this, the Tanggol Kalikasan withrew as counsel for Oliquino and the others.
Up to the present, Espino has been denying that he engaged in black sand mining. But the various equipment, including a massive black sand separator, and the mountain of black sand at the abandoned site, and the concrete wall, and the documents, are excellent pieces of evidence that the illegal activity occured.
Our legal fight has become protracted. For long years, we are fighting powerful people in Pangasinan, all for the sake of environmental protection.
“But I am not losing faith in the country’s judicial system. I am sure that the Ombudsman, the Sandiganbayan, and the Tanggol Kalikasan, cannot be corrupted by the likes of Espino,” he said.
Rea added that he was been given the assurance that the Ombudsman will pursue the cases even when he is gone.
“I know that even when I am gone, justice would be rightfully served to the people of Lingayen nd Pangasinan,” he said.
Time for a break.
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