Thursday, July 17, 2014

Congressman Aliping's Chief Of Staff Says The Solon Was Not Involved In Logging Activity

In a letter written to the Manila Standard Today, Lito Pangilinan (Baguio City Congressman Nicasio Aliping Jr.'s chief of staff) defended the solon from allegations that he was involved in logging activities in Cabuyao/Sto. Tomas. Pangilinan particularly pointed out two articles published by the newspaper during the first week of July as "libelous". The word "libelous" was mentioned in said letter three times.

Reading the letter, the threatening stance is too obvious. Dexter See, the Manila Standard Today correspondent has been among those who have been more ardent in covering the Mt. Sto. Tomas issue. In short, he's been at the forefront of informing the public regarding developments in the Sto. Tomas tragedy. This letter is just another of Aliping's efforts to muscle his way out of the mess he got himself into.

To be fair to Pangilinan, See overstepped in the first paragraph of his July 2 article titled Watershed Logging Defended. The paragraph in question stated "A lawmaker facing various charges for destruction of a huge portion of a protected forest broke a self-imposed silence on Tuesday and said he cut down 1,000 trees and bulldozed the earth to put up an “eco-park” to help sustain the biodiversity of the Mount Sto. Tomas watershed." This created the impression that the Congressman directly said that he cut trees. Aliping never admitted cutting trees. However, most of the evidence says that he did cut trees. Just because Aliping did not admit cutting trees does not mean he did not do it. Non-admission does not equate to innocence.

If Pangilinan's claims that Aliping did not cut trees or engage in logging, then what were the fallen timber that we saw scattered all over the area in Cabuyao/Sto. Tomas when we went there just a few days ago to plant trees? We took photos. Here's just a few of them. What are these, if not the victims of logging? If Aliping wants to stop people from talking about Cabuyao/Sto. Tomas, then he should stop playing around and start addressing the issue directly and clearly. Quit beating around the bush. If he did not do these as he claims, then who did? The vegetable farmers? The small scale miners? It's nearing two months already when the issue first broke out. If Aliping is more enthusiastic in addressing the issue instead of stalling it, fixing this mess would be quicker.