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VMC files charges vs. 21 Manapla residents

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The Victorias Milling Company has filed multiple charges against 21 residents of Manapla, Negros Occidental, allegedly for barricading themselves outside the perimeter gates of the VMC distillery plant in Brgy. Purisima, Manapla, Negros Occidental, to prevent the ingress and egress of trucks and tankers hauling raw materials on February 14.

Jose Ramon Eduardo Unson, head of the VMC Asset Protection and Safety Department, in his complaint affidavit filed before the Negros Occidental Prosecutor’s Office, alleged that the 21 respondents placed barbed wires and wood with protruding nails in the area.

Facing complaints for alleged illegal assemblies, tumultuous disturbance, unlawful utterances, alarms and scandals, serious illegal detention, grave threats and grave coercion, were  Roldan Berito, Ronald Deocadiz, Randy Bacaron, Rene Zapa, Ricky Flores, John Barcelona, Richard Gilbaliga, Cristina Pinion, Aladin Almohia, Donardo Bermejo, Francisco Eleser, Eden Española, Dolores Managaytay, Violeta Porras, Emma Lawan, Jean Elmission,  Michael Piso, Adrian Villaruz, Dyan and John Rey Gabinio, and Carl Joseph Zamora.

In his complaint-affidavit, Unson said that he approached the said individuals and requested them to stop and refrain from gathering in an area that limits the use of public roads, as well as movement of goods and people to and from the distillery plant, but to no avail.

He further claimed that respondents demonstrated threatening actuations, with attempts to assault any person who tried to move the trucks and actively encouraged each other to disobey the law.

Unson also alleged that some respondents were armed with sticks and stones, and also caused serious disturbance upon the peace and order.

Fr. Donardo Bermejo, in a press conference yesterday at the Negros Press Club in Bacolod City, claimed that the peaceful protest was marred with harassment of protestors by policemen.

Bermejo accused the police of protecting the interest of VMC, rather than protecting the rights of the people.

The agrarian reform beneficiaries are claiming ownership of the site where the VMC distillery plant is located.*

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