8 arrested over illegal land conversion in Lapu-Lapu City

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THE ENVIRONMENTAL Crime Division (EnCD) of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) recently arrested eight suspects for illegal land conversion in Barangay Babag, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. In a statement yesterday, NBI said the suspects were involved in the conversion of 23 hectares of forest and wet lands covered with mangrove forest into the Pueblo De Oro Cebu Subdivision, owned by Pueblo De Oro Corporation. They were identified as head Engineer Benjamin Roleda, Engr. Charlie Sumalpong, and drivers of the heavy equipment. “Subjects were caught in flagrante conducting earth moving operations and dumping materials in the forest land pursuant to its plan of converting the forest land to residential lots,” NBI said. EnCD Chief Czar Eric M. Nuqui said the forest land is a “no build zone.” The operation was undertaken with the assistance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cebu and the NBI-Central Visayas Regional Office. Investigation is still ongoing, particularly on the process of how the original certificate of title and transfer certificate of title over the land were acquired, Mr. Nuqui said. Those arrested, meanwhile, have already been presented for inquest proceedings. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas