DAVAO CITY, Philippines - The camp of House Speaker Prospero Nograles at the weekend insisted that City Hall’s removal of the Nograles Park in October did not solve the flooding problem and that if there was politics in controversy, it was in the act of demolition, not in the suspension of city officials.
Speaking in his Saturday afternoon radio program Kalamboan Dala Tanan over dxAB, Atty. Karlo Nograles pointed out that the flooding problem has remained despite the removal 9 months ago of the park in Mini Forest Boulevard.
“The flooding reason is a lame excuse and contradictory to their previous statements,” the son and chief-of-staff of the Speaker said. “When they demolished the park, they said it was because of lack of building permit, not due to flooding.”
Karlo also stressed there has been flooding “before, during and after” the park construction.
Karlo said demolition is not the legal consequence in cases of projects that lack building permits.
“Assuming that the construction has no permit, you ask them to get one and impose fines,” he said. “Demolition is not the legal way to address the issue.”
The young Nograles lamented that the area where the park used to stand is back to its old state of misery. “It’s now back to an open, dirty and smelly open canal,” Karlo described.”
Karlo said people in the community are now back to their old worries that some children, elderly and men who are drunk could fall into the open, dirty canal.
Karlo said malice was clear when the park named after the Speaker’s late father, Erico, was destroyed.
“When they issued the Notice of Demolition, they cited the lack of building permit of the park,” Atty. Nograles recalled.
But he said the notification was given late Friday afternoon and the demolition was implemented immediately on Monday at 6:00 in the morning, thus depriving the barangay and the Dept. of Public Work and Highways any legal remedy to stop the destruction.
After the demolition, city officials went on media and challenged anyone to sue them.
“That’s exactly what they asked for, that’s exactly what we did and that’s exactly what they got,” the Speaker separately said in a press statement, reacting to the charge by City Hall that the resulting suspension of at least 3 officials was a political act.
Refuting supposed claims made by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte that the Speaker influenced the Ombudsman to rule for the 6-month preventive suspension of City Administrator Wendel Avisado, City Engineer Jose Gestuveo, and City Drainage Maintenance Unit chief Yusop Jimlani, Nograles said that “the Office of the Ombudsman is a Constitutionally independent body that even the President of the Republic cannot wield any influence over its actions.”
“They should study the Constitution and the charter of the Office of the Ombudsman,” Nograles said. “It was specifically created to be independent and free from any form of political pressure.”