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Cave cafe raid

Manager detained by NBI agents but owner not yet off the hook

 NATIONAL Bureau of Investigation XI agents detained the manager of Secret Peak Buda Cafe at Purok 11, Sitio Langub, Barangay Baganihan, Marilog District, following a raid on Saturday morning. 

Vicente Essence Minguez, NBI-South Eastern Mindanao Regional Office (SEMRO) head agent, told TIMES in an interview on Saturday that they served the search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Acting Executive Judge Rowena Apao-Adlawan.

In issuing the April 28 warrant, Adlawan found “sufficient probable cause” that a violation of RA 9072 or the “National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act” is “committed and is being committed.” 

In her order, Adlawan stated there are “good and sufficient reasons to believe that Secret Peak Buda Cafe’ and Staycation, and John Doe (owner) is destroying, disturbing, defacing, altering and removing speleogem or speleothem of the cave, and is not licensed to operate nor a grantee of any permit from the DENR to destroy, disturb, deface, alter and remove speleogem or speleothem and other cave resources.”

Minguez said only the manager was found in the cafe. “Wala ang owner, ang manager nadakpan. I forgot the name of the manager,” he said.

The manager is under the NBI’s custody, and no bail bond was recommended after the arrest.

But the owner is not yet off the hook, as Minguez said they would file appropriate cases against everyone involved. 

Meanwhile, operatives closed the cave while the case is being litigated for final action. 

Adlawan also ordered to seize the furniture like sofas, chairs, chandeliers, beds, and light fixtures installed inside the cave. 

The warrant was issued based on the request of Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel Evasco of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) XI dated April 28, 2023.

In a Facebook post on April 28, DENR XI reminded the public that laws exist to protect caves. 

“These gaping chambers beneath the earth with intricate and aethereal formations naturally formed through the slow passage of time. That is how valuable and magisterial the caves are, which deserves preservation of its integrity, let alone be treated with dignity,” it said. 



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