San Jose del Monte lawyer clarifies ‘misleading statement’ of town captain

The map of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan

The head of the legal office of the City of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan has refuted accusations by a barangay captain regarding the construction of a public cemetery and streetlights.

On Friday, Captain Marciano Gatchalian of Bgy. Muzon in San Jose del Monte made several accusations against Mayor Arthur Robes including stopping the construction of a public cemetery in Bgy. Muzon on the show “Rektang Konek Aksyon Agad.”

Gatchalian said the Sangguniang Barangay of Muzon got a PHP80 million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the construction of the cemetery (P40 million) and construction of streetlights (P40 million).

In a statement, Atty. Elmer Galicia, head of the City of San Jose del Monte legal office, said the barangay’s decision to construct its own cemetery was done without the approval of the city government, thus the issuance of a cease and desist order against the barangay.

On the cease and desist order issued by the city against the barangay about the cemetery, Galicia said, “This was based on the law and it was proven that the barangay has no development permit for the cemetery and yet, it has proceeded to construct it.”

He added that the City Planning and Development Office advised Bgy. Muzon not proceed with the project but the barangay still continued.

“It is the duty and obligation of the city to stop its construction. The project was stopped because the barangay still needs to submit many documents,” he said. He also belied Gatchalian’s claim that the city already approved the project.

“What was only approved by the city was the loan. The approval of the loan is different from the approval of the cemetery project. Barangay Captain Gatchalian even admitted that they proceeded with the project even though they don’t have a development permit,” he said.

Galicia also rebuffed Gatchalian on his claim that the cease and desist order is connected with the plan to divide Bgy. Muzon to create other barangays.

“There is no relation. Dividing Bgy. Muzon will have many benefits for its residents. Under the law, only a minimum population of 2,000 is needed to create a barangay but Bgy. Muzon has 106,603 inhabitants, which are beyond what the barangay can supervise,” he said.

Galicia also explained that the disapproval of Bgy. Muzon’s streetlight project was based on law and practicality.

“If the streetlight project is approved, Bgy. Muzon will go over its debt servicing ceiling if the project will be included in its loan. The national and city government have projects to construct streetlights so there is no need to get a loan for this. The barangay will also pay the loan for 15 years,” he said.

Gatchalian also said on the program that he was visited by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last Oct. 26 but Galicia said Mayor Robes had nothing to do with it.

“I don’t know where he got that connection,” the lawyer said

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