Judge inhibits from case on demolition of structures in Boracay

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2019 06:05 AM

A regional trial court judge has recused himself from a case over the demolition of several structures that allegedly violated the government's easement rule along Bulabog Beach in Boracay Island.

In a 2-page order dated Nov. 18, Kalibo Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 7 Judge Ronald Exmundo inhibited himself from the case to avoid perception of bias.

"The issue of voluntarily inhibition is primarily a matter of conscience and sound discretion on the part of the judge. The decision on whether he should inhibit himself, must based on his rational and logical assessment of the circumstances prevailing in the case brought before him," part of the order read.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a motion accusing Exmundo of partiality.

The case has been forwarded to the Office of Clerk of Court for immediate re-raffle.

The Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group (BIARMG) welcomed the judge's decision.

BIARMG general manager Natividad Bernardino said they believed Exmundo was biased on giving the temporary restraining order (TRO) to the property owners in Bulabog Beach.

The Aklan Regional Trial Court had issued a TRO barring the demolition of 10 residential and commercial buildings on Boracay Island purportedly encroaching on the beach easement.

In a 2-page order issued on Oct.15, Exmundo directed the local government of Malay to “cease and desist” from implementing the March 25, 2019 and other demolition orders covering 10 structures along Bulabog Beach.

Bernardino said they had filed a motion to dismiss the case and were hoping that it would soon be granted by the next judge.

The BIAMRG is hoping to finish the demolition of the structures this week.—Report from Cherry Palma, ABS-CBN News