Probe sought on illegal demolition of 200 houses by armed men in Agusan del Norte

by Ben Serrano

     January 20, 2011

            BUTUAN CITY- Owners of some 200 houses allegedly illegally demolished early dawn of January 10, 2011 in Purok 1, Barangay Cabinet, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte have asked for an independent investigation to determine identities of suspects who demolished their homes so that criminal charges be filed. 

            The owners headed by Robert Guiritan sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Caraga Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Reynaldo S. Rafal and the Department of Justice. (DOJ). 

            In the initial investigation official result conducted by Cabadbaran Municipal Police Office obtained by this writer revealed that at about 2:45 early dawn of January 10, 2011, 50 members of demolition crew escorted by some twenty unidentified armed men suspected to be members of the Army Reserved Command clad in military uniforms wearing bonnets arrived in the area and started demolishing houses allegedly without single words and presenting any court order. 

            Residents in the area who had a long legal battle with alleged owners of the lot they are occupying were awakened from their deep slumber, shocked and stunned of the drastic actions committed by the suspects who started destroying their homes. 

            Little children who were awakened by the commotion started crying while some trembling in fear while some elderly or senior citizens were forced to wake also trembling in fear  because of the noises created by hammers and iron bars. 

             Shocked residents complained the suspects even allegedly threatened them harm and poked their long firearms and guns if they resist the demolition. 

           They complained that until now some of them and their children are still in the state of shock. 

            This prompted their leader Robert Guiritan to call and seek assistance the Cabadbaran Municipal Police Office 

            Residents alleged it took sometime before responding cops headed by Police Senior Inspector Adrian Antonio of the Cabadbaran Police Office to arrive in the area as helpless alleged informal settlers were helplessly waiting.

            When the responding cops arrived, the demolition workers and their armed escorts ran away from the scene leaving their vehicles behind which were later impounded by the responding cops. 

            Police recorded and identified the vehicles used by the suspects as one gray maroon Hyundai Van bearing plate number LYN 0104 driven by driver Cipriano Deluta, a starex van bearing plate number KDK 806 driven by certain Juniel August Quilay Araque with helper Ralph Maginot Pansacala.

            Another vehicle left by the suspects were another starex van colored green bearing plate number KEB 181 with driver escaped, and another starex van colroed brown bearing plate number KEP 617, with driver also escaped together with the armed suspects. 

            During investigation, owners of the houses demolished named the one who allegedly ordered the unauthorized demolition as Florenlui Tumarao Tirador, legal age, married and resident of Barangay Kauswagan, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte. 

            Charges were already filed against suspects including drivers and vehicles used the suspects. 

            In an initial probe report revealed the drivers caught claimed they were only instructed to transport the demolition crew and armed men they claimed introduced themselves as allegedly military reservists officials whom they described as “armed’ with M-16 armalite rifles. 

            Caraga Police office claimed they are still investigating the incident. 

            Cabadbaran particularly the area where it happened is about 40 kilometers away from here Butuan City, the regional center of Caraga region. (-30-)


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