June 21, 2024

The Philippine Military Academy’s efforts in preserving the military base got a boost when a local court declared claimants within the area guilty of intruding into the reservation.
The Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 1 declared members of the clan claiming a portion of the Fort Del Pilar Military Reservation guilty for violation of Presidential Decree 1227 or the law that punishes unlawful entry into any military base in the Philippines.
The decision stemmed from a case filed by PMA against Cherilyn Amistad and Brenda Takinan, representatives of the Chacchacan clan, which is claiming 27.98 hectares of the military reservation as their ancestral land.
Lt/Col. Elena Estaban, PMA legal officer, said they filed the cased against the accused when they were found introducing improvements in the area, such as clearing, planting trees, and putting up structures in may 2021.
Esteban said Amistad and Takinan were told to vacate the area as is it is part of the military reservation. The two were warned to not enter again, but they did not heed PMA’s call, leading to the filing of the case.
In the decision penned by MTCC Branch 1 Presiding Judge Roberto Mabalot, it ruled that PMA has the right over the area being claimed.
“The court finds that as between PMA and the two accused, it holds and it so rules that it is PMA that has better right over the subject parcel of land. The two accused have no clear and unmistakable right over the subject properties. Therefore, there is an invasion of a right that needs to be protected,” the ruling stated.
Esteban said the accused were imposed a penalty of 10 days imprisonment and a fine of P200.
The Fort del Pilar reservation has an area of 373.14 hectares, based on Proclamation 2405 s. 1985 issued by then president Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.
Esteban said aside from the ancestral claimants, PMA is also bothered by the small-scale mining that is slowly creeping into the military reservation coming from the sides of Itogon and Tuba, Benguet.
She said PMA is conducting regular patrolling and a fencing project implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways is ongoing to protect the military reservation from further intrusions. – Jane B. Cadalig