CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/26 July)– Zamboanga del Sur Gov. Antonio Cerilles and Mayor Leonardo Babasa of Bayog town have yet to respond to the petition for Writ of Amparo filed against them along with Canadian mining firm TVI Resource Development, Inc., a lawyer of the petitioners said.
The Court of Appeals here earlier set the hearing of the case in August.
Members of the Monte de Oro Small Scale Miners Association (Mossma), which is based in Sitio Balabag, Barangay Depore in Bayog town, Zamboanga del Sur, have filed the petition.
A Writ of Amparo is a legal remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.
Glocelito Jayma, a counsel of Mossma, said in a text message that only TVIRD has so far submitted an answer to the petition.
“We haven’t received the answer from the public respondents. The case was set for hearing on August 7 and 8,” he said.
The public respondents were included in the petition on the grounds that they allegedly have close ties to TVIRD, which is conducting exploration activities for its gold and silver project in the area.
Jayma said that during their first hearing last July 19, only TVRID president Eugene Mateo and retired Gen. Emmanuel Cayton, the company’s chief security officer, were present.
The petition was filed after members of the Mossma were allegedly threatened and harassed because of the mining dispute of the two groups.
They alleged that the respondents and the government officials concocted “Oplan Bongkag” (Operation Destroy) and “Plan-X” against them, based on information they received from electronic mails and text messages.
Arandy Silva, one of the members of Mossma, said that armed men have confiscated an equipment they used in their small-scale mining operation.
Silva said they file the petition “to assert their rights against foreign interest and hopefully to lessen extra judicial killings in the country.” ( Nef Luczon/MindaNews)