Capas, Tarlac—A chief executive in this town filed multiple counts of cyber libel cases against the former head of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Pampanga Chapter, over a series of allegedly malicious imputations and character assassination posted on social media against Mayor Rey Catacutan.
Catacutan, assisted by his legal team, lodged multiple counts of cyber-libel cases at the Office of the Tarlac City Provincial Prosecutor against Pyra Lucas, former chief of the Pampanga VACC, Froilan Apostol and Cesario Bautista Jr., for alleged violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Catacutan said Lucas described him as a land grabber in many occasions as posted in the social media, which were glaring and deliberate with bad intentions and unjustifiable motives to malign, dishonor, discredit, insult and assassinate his character and reputation. Jess Malabanan
The case reportedly stemmed from the series of social media videos where Lucas posted the complaints of farmers including Apostol whose farm lots had been allegedly awarded by the Capas, Tarlac, local government unit to the Department of Education and Technological Skills and Development Authority.
Catacutan says the farm lots owned by the heirs of Apostol were one hectare only and not four acres contrary to what they claimed. He said it was clear in the survey map provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Lands and Maps Division.
The properties are situated within the Camp O’Donnel military reservation area, a former US military base which was converted into a resettlement area under Proclamation 813 of then President Corazon Aquino after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
Catacutan said the Capas LGU eventually declared 45 hectares of land within the O’Donnel area as Agro Industrial Areas and 18-hectares of which were distributed to farmers.
“It was only then that farmers, including Apostol siblings, and a certain Estabillo got one-hectare each only for agricultural purposes,” Catacutan said.
He added that some 372 hectares of land, formerly part of Barangays Aranguren and Lawy was covered by the RP-US military bases agreement sometime on 1946 which was later known as Camp O’Donnel.
Under the agreement, Catacutan said, farmers affected would be compensated by the government and given priority to work at Camp O’Donnel until 1991 where the US military was forced to evacuate due to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
He added that the property being questioned had been awarded by the Capas LGU to DepEd and TESDA.
“In fact, the two agencies had their groundbreaking for the construction of facilities.”