Jan 19, 2021 @ 18:12

3 years in jail: 2 ex-Lanao del Norte cops convicted for demolition sans court order

The Sandiganbayan has convicted two former Lanao del Norte police officers who enforced the demolition of houses without a valid court order.

In a decision dated Jan. 15, the anti-graft court’s First Division found Rey Armodia Camanian and Lauro Rocaberte Diputado guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three counts of grave coercion and sentenced them to up to three years imprisonment for each count.

The two former members of the Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte PNP Civil Service Unit, along with then Mayor Rommel Arnado, was charged in a complaint filed by the Sambuat family after the policemen barged into their property and destroyed their homes even after they showed them copies of their title to the property.

Family members claimed ownership of the property since the 1940s but said they were forced to leave during Martial Law.

When they returned in 1974, someone else was occupying the property and the then mayor Omar Gillan obtained a title to the property.

In 2013, the members of the Sambuat family began building their houses on the property anew, relying on the legality of their title.

However, they were ordered to leave after the police said a certain group was now the present owners of the property.

They had another dialogue with Arnado who ordered them to leave the property and destroyed the houses. Arnado was subsequently convicted for grave coercion in April 2019 by the anti-graft court.

In convicting the policemen of the same charges, the Court said the policemen’s acts “clearly show the concerted actions of all the accused to achieve the purpose of ousting the Sambuats from the property claimed by the group of Henry Dy, even without a court order of eviction and demolition”. (PNA)

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