Vol. 8 No. 393
Sunday, March 25, 2012
  Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines

Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan
Woman claims Loboc mayor ‘attacked’ her

A woman in her late 40s has accused Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan of physical harms inside his office when she inquired why the LGU cut the coconut trees in her inheritance land without permission.

Josephine Suganob Clarin was allegedly pulled from her chair and choked on her neck by the angry mayor until he was stopped by his driver, who brought her outside to avoid further harm.

Calipusan denied in a phone interview yesterday that he had ever done such to the woman, a 48-year-old unmarried resident of barangay Villafor in Loboc where the coconut land passed to her and other heirs of her father is located.

“We know the truth, what really happened,” said the mayor in a soft, confident tone, although he admitted the cutting of coconut trees to clear an area for a government project, a parking site for tourist vehicles.

Calipusan clarified that the project involves certain private lots of different owners but Clarin is not one of them and, thus, most of the trees cut did not belong to her property.

Clarin’s lot is beside the project site and only one or a few coconut trees there were cut because they were leaning and, therefore, hazardous as they could fall anytime, the mayor explained.

In her sworn affidavit, Clarin said she was “so shocked and helpless as I never expected that a mayor is capable of physically attacking not only a constituent but a woman no less.”

She came to the mayor’s office in the afternoon of March 9 for clarification on the cutting of at least three coconut trees in their land without permission.

The mayor then called LGU personnel Hanzel Serenio, who was on the site when the trees were cut, to join in explaining.

But in the course of their conversation, “the mayor got angry and to my shock pulled me from my chair. He was so strong that after pulling me, I hit my head to the door,” the woman recounted.

Because of the commotion inside, the mayor’s driver named Allan and his security aide entered to stop Calipusan from further harming her.

“But the mayor was able to reach me and choked me,” according to Clarin, prodding his driver to bring her outside Calipusan’s office.

In the phone interview, the mayor said he should instead be the one complaining against Clarin for offending not just his person but the mandated office he represents.

He said Clarin appeared confrontational and arrogant.

The mayor said his men would have asked permission from Clarin to cut some of her trees had they known that they already belong to her lot.

Calipusan said it was a certain Arcadio Calipusan who had Clarin’s trees cut since they were already leaning.

It was learned that the coconut trees grown on the land of the Clarin has been pawned to the family of Arcadio, who is a distant relative of the mayor.

As a condition in pawning, the family of Arcadio will only enjoy the fruits of the coconut trees while the Clarins remain the owners of the trees.

Arcadio was in the area when the trees were cut.

In her affidavit, Clarin said he was told by Arcadio that he advised the LGU personnel not to cut any tree unless they get permission from the Clarins as landowners.

Clarin narrated that she also confronted a certain Pedro Abid, the chainsaw operator, who merely told her to “just go to the mayor.”

Floated as a congressional hopeful in the Third District, the last-termer mayor said the LGU is willing to compensate for her trees cut but Clarin resisted.

Cutting even a single coconut tree requires a permit from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

Clarin intimated in her sworn statement to file criminal charges against the mayor and/or his agents.

Calipusan said she has not received any formal complaint notice.

The woman also blottered with the town police the harming incident inside the mayor’s office.(Ven rebo Arigo)

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