By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Department of Justice (DOJ) called on the Ombudsman to take appropriate action on the complaints filed by residents of Barangay Purisima, Manapla, Negros Occidental against the operation of VMC Distillery.
In a letter dated July 13 obtained by local media over the weekend, DOJ assistant secretary Neal Vincent Bainto urged Ombudsman Samuel Martires to act on the request of concerned citizens of the village to investigate the continued operation of VMC Distillery located in their village claiming that it is “illegal and that no action has been taken by the government officials and employees despite their complaints.”
In October 2020, the residents filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against Cresencio Sombero, Manuel Escalante II, Ramar Niel Pascua, Minnie Chua, and several John Does.
In their complaint they want the respondents to be “dismissed from service without forfeiture of benefits and perpetual disqualification from public office, proper civil liabilities and compensation for the damage done on the people and environment and to make proper and needed rehabilitation.”
They also want the respondents to be “ordered to issue the necessary resolution/ order for the immediate closure of the VMC Distillery operation which operated without the necessary permit.”
They also urged the Ombudsman to order the preventive suspension of the public officials who are respondents as well as issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the operation of the facility inside the village.
Bainto in his letter cited the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte in October 27, 2020 directing the DOJ “to investigate allegations of corruption in the entire government.”
The DOJ was also “authorized to decide which allegations to investigate, prosecute and to file appropriate charges against those involved in the anomalies investigated.”/DGB, WDJ