FORMER COURT OF APPEALS JUSTICE, DAVAO DE ORO CONGRESSMAN LINKED TO CONTROVERSIAL P300-MILLION RESORT

REP. GONZAGA ADMITS OWNERSHIP

The mystery over ownership of a P300M high-end inland resort built on 200 hectares of ancestral doman land in Davao de Oro has ended.

Davao de Oro Representative Ruwel Peter Gonzaga has come forward to admit he and his wife, former justice of the Court of Appeals Dorothy Gonzaga, owned the property in Maco town.

The public admission of Gonzaga in an interview last week with a Tagum City-based FM radio station, comes amid public and media speculations, fueled by the election fever in the May 9 polls, of possible corruption of those involved in the project.

The New Barili Mountain View Resort in Barili in a mountain area in Maco municipality has stirred controversy following reports that leaders of the indigenous people (IP) in Davao de Oro questioned a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) over a 25-year lease agreement for P1-million, between a group of tribal leaders and Gonzaga that awarded to the congressman 200 hectares carved out of the Certificate ofAncestral Domain Title (CADT) of the IPs.

Several landowners also complained that they were barred from using an access road leading to their property by representatives of a congressman who is said to be the owner of the resort.

In wake of Gonzaga’s admission, the inquisitive public and local media in Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro have raised questions over compliance of the Barili resort with requirements from the Departmentof Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) such as the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and Environmental impact Study (EIS) and business and building permits.

The Barili resort consists of several expensive buildings and a large landscaped surroundings. A concrete public road newly constructed by the Department of Public Worls and Highways (DPWH) leads to the hinterland resort.

Also gaining interest is, due to its huge cost, the Barili resort’s potentials as a corruption issue against the Gonzaga couple, as it rose from the ground only during the congressman’s first term.

Gonzaga is seeking reelection in Davao de Oro’s Second District against former governor Jose Caballero.

Dorothy was appointed in 2018 by President Rodrigo Duterte as justice of the the Court of Appeals but resigned from her post to join politics as a candidate under the opposition party Reporma chaired by Duterte critic former House Speaker Davao del Norte First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

Neophyte aspirant Dorothy has been lured to an uphill battle by her husband against veteran politician former governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy in the race for governor. The post is currently held by his son, incumbent Jayvee Tyron Uy who has slid down to run for vice governor.

The Uys have assembled a power-packed slate that includes, aside from Caballero, incumbent vice governor and former Rep. Maricar Zamora in the First District race against Monkayo vice mayor Joanna Gentugaya.
Her father, congressman Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora is challenging the reelection of Monkayo mayor Ramil Gentugaya, husband of Joanna Gentugaya.

The Uy-led “Walang Iwawan” team is running under the banner of the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP) of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is running for vice president under the UniTeam in tandem with former senator Bongbong Marcos for president.

Gonzaga’s bench is a hybrid line-up from both the ruling Partido Demokratiko-Laban (PDP-Laban) and the opposition Reporma..

While Gonzaga is the chairman in the Davao Region of the PDP-Laban which is chaired by President Duterte, he is honeymooning with the political opposition with his wife Dorothy running under the banner of the Reporma party which isfielding the tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson for president and Senator Tito Sotto for vice president against the Bongbong-Sara Uniteam.
Reliable sources said that due to his political treachery, the PDP-Laban was expected to expel Gonzaga from the ruling party.

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