Aliping, a Squatter and Squatter Protector???
All of a sudden, some self-righteous persons to further the interest of their chosen candidate(s) are concerned with the humongous squatting problem in the city, and they conveniently choose to zero-in on congressional candidate Nicasio Aliping. I have been monitoring some of the issues being raised against Aliping on his being (an alleged) squatter and a squatter protector. In fact, just recently, a leaflet was cowardly left scattered at different streets within the city accusing him of various impropriety, being a squatter and squatter protector, among other obvious black propaganda tirades.
First off, for us to form a fairly reasonable opinion on whether or not Aliping is a squatter himself, and protector of squatters, we will need some basic facts from so-called people in the know, and this people would come from the various departments of the DENR and not from the endless pool of Facebook Commentators (FCs as I like to call them). More so a leaflet with no acknowledgment as to who is responsible for its production, should at the most be taken with a grain of salt, if not totally dismissed as a desperate attempt from a desperate fellow congressional candidate (it is obvious that a fellow congressional candidate would stand to gain from this) to put down Aliping.
Basing on the black propaganda that was circulated, stated at the black prop’s leaflet is that here is a person (Aliping) who is an alleged squatter, but the City of Baguio is collecting real estate taxes from him. Now, how many of this sort or type of land occupants/possessors do you think we have in the city? I am certain that a lot of these Facebook Commentators, government (low and high ranking) officials are in similar situation with Aliping, they being possessors of land(s) covered by a Tax Declaration? This is fairly common in Baguio, and therefore, all of those in this situation are technically considered “squatters,” who are nevertheless paying real estate taxes not until a Torrens title is issued in their favor.
Let’s get real here and not be hypocrites. Show me figures and data on the number of successfully implemented demolitions on land with duly issued tax declarations, and I will show you another ten more that needs to be demolished that are in similar situation, but have not! I am not condoning squatting, but the Baguio situation is quite different from the rest of the country (this will be the subject of a future article of mine). We of course know that a Tax Declaration merely extends rights to the occupant/possessor, the extent of the legal right would best be left explained by a lawyer familiar with land cases. Furthemore, I understand that a piece of land, forest reserve at that (in fact someone at the DENR once told me that technically speaking, the whole of the Cordillera is a forest reservation, could be true !) may have been classified as a forest reservation but re-classified into A & D or Alienable and Disposable status, therefore, this and other research should first be done by the Facebook Commentators and the producer of the black propaganda leaflet, and the results of their research provided to us; otherwise, sad to say, their postings are all empty haka-haka or baseless kiao-kiao!!!
On the issue of Aliping being a squatter protector, the basis of which was his alleged attack on the demolition team at the Busol Watershed. We must also try to get our facts right on this, for this incident reminds me of the very same incident in Davao wherein Mayor Sarah “Inday” Duterte was merely asking for a little more time (another half-hour to delay the demolition) from the Sheriff on the ground, and when the Sheriff allegedly did not heed the call of the Mayor for a slight delay in order to prevent the incidence of violence, we all now what happened to the poor Sheriff who was just also doing his job.
I am not condoning acts of violence, and if indeed Aliping acted in an unruly and/or violent manner, then the police who were then present should have arrested him and charged him for public scandal, physical injuries etc… Assuming that the allegations on Aliping are true, then how come the squadron or is it battalion of policemen present during the Busol Demolition did not arrest him? This just doesn’t make sense! Certainly, they were not afraid of one City Councilor?!
At times, politicians must do unpopular moves and make unpopular decisions, and if I understand it right, Aliping, during the Busol incident was in a similar situation as Mayor Duterte. Aliping was merely asking for a little more time from the demolition team as they were waiting for a TRO.
The bottomline is, we really cannot form a reasonable opinion on Aliping based on a few Facebook Commentators say-so or a few news articles or more so from a nameless leaflet which was obviously produced by a rival congressional candidate (who produced it? your guess is as good as mine ). We simply need more info.