PNNI went to town lately with tales of land grabbing in Culion and Balabac, allegedly committed by Gov. Jose Chavez Alvarez. Posted on Facebook, netizens had a field day disparaging the Governor and calling him names.
It was the Molbog Indigenous peoples of Balabac who alleged that the Governor is involved in the “buying and selling of their ancestral lands for real estate ventures and airport development ” . In Culion. PNNI alleges that the Governor’s land grabbing activities is in Barangay Osmena where ” the governor has already allegedly occupied portions of forests” and has placed security guards to prevent ingress and egress.
Meanwhile, the Governor is not taking things in stride. He wanted to face his accusers and to challenge them to show proof of land grabbing – and to file a case against him if evidence so warrants, But if they could not, they should be prepared for the Governor’s own legal remedies as he has every right to defend his person which was unduly sullied by the wild accusations.
If PNNI has the goods on the Governor, and if the IPs it was so passionate about were truly aggrieved, then by all means, PNNI should hail the Governor to court. Why go to social media to seek justice? It only made apparent the motive of PNNI in drawing netizens’ emotion against the Governor and wreck his reputation in the process. But for what? So that there will be ” No Division, No Dynasty ” as written in the tail end of PNNI’s post?
But truth has a way of coming out. Barangay Ramos Chieftain Sapeon Diohani has categorically denied any land grabbing activities in his barangay while the Barangay Captain himself, PB Julkisin Saypodin, also denied any of the reported land grabbing.
In Barangay Catagupan, Molbog Chieftain Gawa Salila also belied the reports of land grabbing while a Barangay Kagawad, representing the Punong Barangay, bewailed the reckless accusations against the Governor without first finding out the truth.
In Culion, Estelle Marie Calinawan, Barangay Coordinator of Osmena explained that it was Barangay Captain Neil Pagao who spread the wrong information and accused the Governor of land grabbing. This was made when the Provincial Assessor went to Osmena to talk to land owners about certain share of the Provincial Government from the tax collection of the municipality. But the Barangay Captain got it all wrong and started bad mouthing the Governor. SB Alejandro Astor, who is also from Osmena, denied the reported land grabbing, although he said there were residents who are ” into selling their properties.”
Two former Barangay captains of Osmena and several knowledgeable residents also strongly denied the reported land grabbing.
With all these denials, how could PNNI claim the moral high ground as leader of NGOs in Palawan? Certainly, its cookie pie crumbled in the face of unburnished truth.