Macroasia lodges complaints in Ombudsman vs Brooke’s Pt. barangay officials

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso

MACROASIA CORPORATION (MC) has recently filed administrative charges in the Office of the Ombudsman for the preventive suspension of Brooke’s Point barangay Ipilan chairman Jonathan Lagrada and three others for allegedly causing “undue injury to the government and grave abuse of authority.”

A statement obtained by the Palawan Times said MacroAsia filed administrative cases against Lagrada, Jane Araullo, Wilfredo Rodriguez and Cresencio Ura – all officials of barangay Ipilan on grounds that they are “stopping a mining firm from pursuing its legal exploration activities, as covered by a Minerals Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) granted by the national government, and which was duly concurred by the municipal government.”

The cases were filed at the office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon in Manila by MacroAsia Corporation representative and complainant Marivic T. Moya, the statement said.

The MC beseeched the Ombudsman to preventively suspend the respondents for vehemently violating Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and appealed that it be allowed to pursue its legitimate mining activities pursuant to the MPSA.

Moya’s complaint cited that in September 2008, upon orders by Lagrada, the barangay chairman of Ipilan, blocked scheduled survey activities of the company that were supposedly carried out by its contractor JCP Geo-Ex Services, Inc.

“The firm was accredited by the Mines Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to provide exploration services for mining companies,” the statement said.

MacroAsia believes that the move of Lagrada and the others was a “wanton disregard of barangay resolutions no. 05 and no. 27, dated April 2 and November 19, 2007 respectively, which authorized and endorsed the company to pursue its mining activities.”

Both resolutions, which were approved before his term, are being questioned by Lagrada, a staunch supporter of the “no to mining” fight of non-government organizations (NGOs) and some religious sects.

“The continuous refusal of the respondent Jonathan Lagrada to allow the conduct of survey by MacroAsia, without valid and justifiable reason or court order, and obviously attended with evident bad faith, and with grave abuse of authority, causes undue injury to the operation of MacroAsia which is now suffering financial and capital losses due to the unjust actions of the respondents preventing the enforcement of a legitimate contract signed by the MacroAsia and the Republic of the Philippines, as well as of the barangay resolutions created by duly constituted authorities,” Moya said.

“We have long kept silent and tried to endure all these unfair acts against us, hoping our detractors will eventually become reasonable enough to appreciate our company’s legitimate goals. But it has already reached a point where the sense and logic of our purpose is fast becoming unworthy to pursue, if we do not assert our legal and legitimate rights now,” she added.

Lagrada, in a phone interview with the Palawan Times, shrugged off the administrative cases filed against them as “pure harassment’ by MacroAsia.

“It’s pure harassment because MacroAsia will really do everything to make us stop our fight against mining,” he said, adding that he has not received any copy of the filed cases, neither has he received any other document as of press time.

“I am ready to face them,” Lagrada said firmly.

Brooke’s Point has become a favorite hub of anti and pro-responsible mining rallies and other campaign efforts due to the impending operation of three large-scale mining companies in the town, namely Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC), Leebach and MacroAsia Corporation.

MacroAsia, a publicly-listed corporation, is part of the Lucio Tran group of companies which is the lead organization for the group’s mining activities, apart from its core aviation industry services business.

MacroAsia was granted with a MPSA by the government on December 2005 to pursue its mining activities in Brooke’s Point after the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) issued the firm, on June 2005, with a clearance that its target of operations conform to the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) of the province.(ThePalawanTimes)


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