Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Anakpawis, fisherfolk groups slap charges vs Defensor at Ombudsman today

* From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran

Reference: Rep. Crispin Beltran (+63)927.871.1080

Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006

Tel. # (+632) 931-6615 Email: crispinbeltran@gmail.com

URL: http://www.geocities.com/ap_news


February 14, 2006

For 'heartless sell-out of national patrimony and sweetheart deals with
foreign mining MNCs'

Anakpawis, fisherfolk groups slap charges vs Defensor at Ombudsman today

Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and Rep. Rafael Mariano today joined the
nationwide fisherfolk organization Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya
ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in filing criminal and graft charges at the Office
of the Ombudsman against former Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) Secretary Mike Defensor and other officials implicated in
at least four major environmental disasters last year.

The 20-page complaint charged Defensor, et al, with corruption in relation
to his overall involvement as DENR Secretary on the following environmental

· The granting of permission to US-based mining firm Lafayette Co. to
engage in operations in Rapu-Rapu island in Albay, resulting in the
controversial and mine spill last year.

· The granting of permission for joint foreign oil and gas
explorations by Canadian firm Forum Energy Corp. (Forum) and Japanese
Exploration Corp. (Japex) in Tanon Strait, a protected sea scape between
Cebu and Negros since May 2005. This exploration has caused danger to marine
biodiversity in the sanctuary and threatened the livelihood of small
fishermen. The fishing ban imposed by the joint exploration has already
affected at least 8,350 fishermen in San Carlos and Escalante cities in
Negros Occidental alone, threatening to reduce fish catch by as much as
600,000 tons annually in the next ten year.

· The DENR's "mass distribution" of 4,968 environmental compliance
certificates to environment-violating firms in 2005 alone.

Also charged in the complaint were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo,
former Enegry Secretary Vince Perez, and several DENR officials in Regions V
and VII. The said government officials were charged with violations against
Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), the Code of
Conduct, and Ethical Standards of RA 6713, and other environmental

"This is our Valentines' gift to Sec. Defensor for playing Cupid between
Pres. Arroyo and foreign mining corporations such as Lafayette. It is high
time that Mr. Defensor should be probed and be made accountable for his
heartless sell-out of national patrimony and sweetheart deals with foreign
mining MNCs," Beltran said.

"Mr. Defensor has shown no love for his country nor the Filipino toiling
masses who are foremost affected and devastated by these environmental
disasters caused by his unpatriotic kowtowing to foreign mining and oil
interests. He and other like-minded officials should be made to account for
their crimes against the people," he added. ###


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