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2 barangay officials nabbed in illegal Tarlac quarry site

Two barangay officials were among those arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at an illegal quarrying operation in Tarlac City last Monday.

“Arrested Subjects were caught in flagrante de licto conducting a quarry operation without the necessary documents from any of the concerned government agencies,” said the NBI in a statement Friday (Oct. 7).

The NBI identified those arrested as Brgy. Sta. Maria Captain Albert Mercado, Barangay Councilor Arturo Dela Cruz, Joel Santos, Jesus Santos, Jessie Santos, Jonathan Santos, and Jerry Espinosa.

“One (1) payloader and four (4) trucks with a total value of Php 1,800,000.00 were seized and turned over to the appropriate office,” it added.

The bureau said the arrests were made by the NBI Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) and was done with the assistance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) Region III.

NBI-EnCD agents found at the illegal quarrying site “Barangay Captain Albert Mercado who was in charge of the illegal quarry operation, and Barangay Councilor Arturo Dela Cruz who served as the checker/collector.”

“Verification with the Local Government Unit and DENR-MGB Region III disclosed that no quarry permits were issued within the area indicated,” the bureau said.

“After eliciting information, it was found that the proceeds of the quarry operation are being shared by Brgy. Captain Mercado and the Provincial Government of Tarlac at 60:40 ratio. Further investigation revealed that Royal Crown Monarch Inc., an entity contracted by the DPWH for the construction of government projects in Tarlac City, has been sourcing earth materials from the said illegal quarry operation to complete its contracts,” it also cited.

Following the arrests. all seven persons were presented for inquest before the Tarlac City Prosecutor’s Office over allegations of committing theft of minerals in violation of Section 103 of Republic Act 7942, also known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.