Presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte accuses Liberal Party (LP) and administration bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas of granting illegal favors to mining crony Eric Gutierrez.
Gutierrez owns San Roque Metals Inc. (SR Metals), which engages in “small scale mining” of 572 hectares of land in Tubay, Agusan del Norte. DENR ordered its closure in the late 2000’s after it engaged in ore over-extraction but the company still continues to operate today.
Tubay, Before and After
In a Sunday speech last March, Duterte showed two sets of aerial photos of Tubay, Agusan del Norte.
The first set showed an area with lush, green vegetation, purportedly taken before SR Metal’s operations.
The second set, allegedly taken after SR Metals started operations, shows a drastically denuded landscape.
The pictures were captioned, “Tubay, Agusan del Norte. Small-scale miner?”
With the “small scale” tag, SR Metals was able to bypass severe environmental and legal restrictions imposed on large scale mining operations, albeit with lower extraction limits. SR Metals, however, ignored these limits and over-extracted ore, destroying Tubay’s pristine environment.
“[SR Metals was] assessed by the government to have violated the laws and was fined Php 77 million. Even with the government winning the case before the Supreme Court, ang binayad pa lang nila hanggang ngayon is Php 7 million, and they cannot collect kasi andiyan si Roxas,”Duterte said.
Duterte said SR Metals can forget about the outstanding balance if Roxas wins the presidency”.
‘Pag nag presidente ‘yang buang nayan, tabla iyong Php 77 million na iyon,” Duterte said, referring to Roxas.
Duterte said SR Metals’ planes, which are being used for Roxas’ presidential campaign, were exempted from taxes, a privilege not given to any other aircraft company.
It has been confirmed that the Supreme Court fined SR Metals Php 7 million for environmental plunder [Philstar]. However, Duterte’s Php 77 million statement is yet to be verified.
“Roxas denies any links to Gutierrez, but he’s using the planes na identified na inimport ni Gutierrez without taxes,” Duterte said.
Duterte said Roxas and Gutierrez’s ties are so close, Gutierrez even customized the registration number of one of these planes to reflect this relationship.
“Ang eroplano niya, ang number is RP-513. Alam mo kung ano ‘yang 513? It is significant in the life of Roxas. Why? It is his birthday, May 13,” Duterte said.
Roxas was born on May 13, 1957.
Research shows that Roxas actually acknowledged his friendship with Gutierrez.
Roxas said February. “ I know and am friends with Eric Gutierrez… He is my friend—what’s wrong with that?”[Inquirer]
Gutierrez is a long-time Liberal campaign donor. He has also provided planes for President Aquino’s 2010 campaign, a helicopter for taking footage Vice-president Jejomar Binay’s alleged Batangas Farm, and allegedly currently employs former Aquino cabinet members in companies he owns./Thinkingpinoy.net