from Philstar.com by Manny Galvez, published on October 8, 2006
DINGALAN, Aurora â€” Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Angelo Reyes has held in abeyance the relief of a controversial community environment and natural resources officer (CENRO) in this coastal town, sparking an outrage from local officials and Sen. Edgardo Angara.
The relief of Reynaldo Astudillo, this townâ€™s CENRO officer-in-charge, has been put off indefinitely despite his alleged failure to contain illegal logging in his jurisdiction and his refusal to attend several hearings of the municipal council and the provincial board.
Astudillo was ordered relieved from his post last May 22 in DENR Special Order 2006-447 issued by Reyes. The order was signed in Reyesâ€™ behalf by Undersecretary Teresita Samson-Castillo.
Under the order, Astudillo was being re-assigned to his mother unit in the Forest Management Bureau, while his predecessor, Meliton Vicente, CENRO of San Rafael, Bulacan, would return to his previous position.
Astudilloâ€™s re-assignment, according to the order, was “in the interest of the service and in view of continuing reorganization in the DENR.”
A few months back, Angaraâ€™s younger sister, Aurora Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, confronted Dingalan officials right during their foundation day celebration with reports that illegal logging had persisted in the town after a truckload of “hot logs” was intercepted while being escorted by a municipal official which she did not identify, reportedly in cahoots with a DENR official.
This prompted town officials to summon Astudilllo to a hearing of the municipal council but he failed to appear at least thrice.
Astudillo similarly failed to appear before the provincial board, drawing the ire of both Angara-Castillo and Vice Gov. Annabelle Tangson.
Astudilloâ€™s immediate superiors, DENR Region 3 executive director Regidor de Leon and Aurora provincial environment and natural resources officer Benjamin Mina, have both complained that they could not get in touch with Astudillo, who has apparently kept changing his mobile phone number.
De Leon said Astudilloâ€™s refusal to cooperate with local officials constitutes flagrant violation of the Local Government Code, adding that he cannot just brush them aside.
“You cannot ignore them just like that,” he said.
The STAR tried to contact Astudillo several times, but to no avail.
Astudilloâ€™s continuous stay at his post has also reportedly irked Angara.
“Whatever happened to the special order of Secretary Reyes?” a DENR official quoted Angara as telling him during a recent budget hearing at the Senate.
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