FEELING harassed, members of Bago Indigenous Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) filed a Motion before the Office of Ombudsman (OMB) for the immediate preventive suspension of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Chairperson Allen A. Capuyan and Commissioner Gaspar A. Cayat following unwarranted maneuvering of NCIP maliciously intended to intimidate complainant ICCs/IPs.
It can be recalled that early March 21, 2023, members of the Bago Tribe dwelling in Sison Pangasinan affected by the operations of the National Cement Corporation (NCC) filed a complaint before the OMB for grave misconduct, malfeasance, and violation of RA 3019 against NCIP top officials Capuyan and Cayat.
Said complaint emanated from the unwarranted issuance of a Certificate of Non-Overlap (CNO) absolving the NCC with the mandatory requirement of a Certification Precondition (CP), in effect stripping the rights of the Bago IPs with their due right to Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) under RA 8371, otherwise known as IPRA.
According to the complainants, days after following the filing of the case, agents from the NCIP, while accompanied by the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Barangay Saguton, visited the Complainants “in the guise of attempting to obtain their signature and genealogy form and to provide them with a written response as to NCIP and IPMR’s queries.”
Complainants claim that said visit was outside protocol. They filed their resentment alongside their observations with the NCIP. Complainants, among others, aver that they were being singled-out.
“We are just wondering why of all the indigenous peoples of Sison, Pangasinan only the undersigned were asked their genealogy and fill-up the interview form at this special instance?”, Complainants asked NCIP in their March 30, 2023 letter.
“Is the information/data gathering initiative originally emanated from the CSC of Sison or a mere compliance at your level based on instructions from your higher officials […] or perhaps even from the NCIP Central Office?”, expressed the Complainants to the NCIP. They further added, “[f]rom what office at the Central Office do the instructions emanate? From the Commission En Banc? From the office of the Chairman? From the office of the Executive Director?”￼
A police blotter report recorded that during the process of the supposed interview, “NCIP personnel allegedly took pictures and discreetly gathered information without their [Complaint] permission”. Further, the police blotter stated that, “those NCIP personnel who were conducting the interview were allegedly sent by [Commissioner] Gaspar Anuman y Cayat of NCIP and Allen Capuyan, Chairman of NCIP who was […] a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines”.
Days thereafter NCIP personnel came clean and went to apologize to the Complainants, “[m]oreover, on April 11, 2023, personnel of NCIP allegedly went back to see [Complainants] and offered an apology, and they further cited that they were allegedly sent and instructed by the NCIP Central Office to gather personal information”, stated the police blotter.
The motion for preventive suspension was seen as prudent and immediate by the Complainants considering the corrupt track records of both Cayat and Capuyan. In their “Urgent Ex Parte Motion for Suspension,” Complainants underscored the Senate investigation back in 2017 relative to the 6.4 billion-worth shabu smuggling fiasco from China wherein Allen Capuyan, who was then the assistant general manager for security and emergency services of the Manila International Airport Authority, was linked. Just days following the expose, Allen Capuyan resigned from his post. Complainants also raised Allen Capuyan’s involvement in the infamous “Hello Garci” controversy.
The same trail of corrupt activities likewise linked Gaspar Cayat, according to the Complainants. “Same can be said with respondent Cayat, the hatchet man of respondent Capuyan, who took care of the issuance of the illegal and irregular CNO.
It should be recalled that for respondent Cayat to literally ‘shit’ in his backyard in favor of NCC/SMNCI, he was allegedly rewarded with a Petron Gasoline Station in KM 5 La Trinidad, Benguet registered under his wife, allegedly among other assets he gained from the said transaction”, underscored the Complainants.
According to the Complainants, Cayat and Capuyan while seated as agents of NCIP, “catered to their selfish interests instead of performing their mandate. They are seen as persona non-grata and simply traitors to the IP community”.
Complainants aver that the evidence of guilt is strong. And in the interest of fair play and to ward off the earlier case filed from imminent tampering of documents and/or undue interference through the use of Cayat and Capuyan’s authority, Complainants pray before the OMB “to immediately issue an order to preventively suspend” NCIP top officials Cayat and Capuyan from their current post. – March Fianza, Baguio Chronicle