MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to charge former Paombong, Bulacan Mayor Isagani Castro and 10 other officials for violation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Former Vice Mayor Marisa Ramos, councilors Myrna Valencia, Luisito Arellano, Francisco Valencia, Maximo Tanghal, Reynaldo Sulit, Arnaldo Mendoza, James Jester Santos, Zoilo Estrella, and Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) Marciana Tanghal were also indicted.
The Special Panel of Investigators of the Environmental Ombudsman said the officials allowed the operation of an open dump in Barangay San Isidro II despite a notice of closure issued by the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2011.
In July 2015, the DENR issued another closure order but inspection held in November of the same year proved that the dump was still operational.
The Environmental Ombudsman also conducted an inspection in August 2016 and found that the dump is adjacent to the Labangan Channel of the Angat River and a fishpond.
The team also found that trash was dumped without segregation.
A followup inspection in October 2016 yielded the same results.
“In this case, it has been established that as of 2017, the local government of Paombong Bulacan has been operating an open and controlled dumpsite for 12 long years,” the Ombudsman said in the resolution.
In a related administrative case, incumbent councilors Mendoza, Santos, Estrella and MENRO Tanghal were found guilty of gross neglect of duty and were ordered suspended for one year.