Yep, it’s been 3 weeks since this group of ‘Treasure Hunters’ has been on vacation in the Provincial Jail. It is alleged that they have looted some of the historically significant artifacts and done serious and irreparable damage to the Memorial Chapel at the Cemetery in San Joaquin, Iloilo.
Well, some “generous soul” has seen fit to arrange for the malefactors to be able to post bail and they are now back on the street…
It’s also very interesting to note that the priest involved in all of this, Father Nelson Silvela, the former parish priest of San Joaquin who allegedly approved the digging, remains at-large.
Shouldn’t he also be enjoying the facilities of the Provincial Jail? Seems to me to be the right thing to have happen to him…where is he?
In any event, here is a report on the most recent happening in the case from F. Allan L. Angelo of the Daily Guardian.
by: F. Allan L. Angelo
THE 10 PERSONS who were arrested in San Joaquin, Iloilo last Feb. 24, 2016 for alleged treasure hunting inside the historic Camposanto (mortuary chapel) in the town are out on bail.
A retired general from Negros Occidental is believed to have facilitated the bail of the 10 suspects, according to the San Joaquin police.
Inspector Raymund Gemarino, San Joaquin PNP chief, confirmed that the suspects posted P13,800 bail each.
Their bail was pegged at P40,000 but it was reduced after they applied for surety bond.
The suspects are Ceferiano Cabo, 57, and Christopher Cabo, 27, of Kirayan Tacas village, Miag-ao, Iloilo; Jimmy Moscoso, 51, and Joven Moscoso, 29, of Durongan village, Tigbauan; Andres Dela Cruz, 41, Bernard Delfin, 47, Ardi Arguelles Jr., 40, and Alfe Pepol, 26, of Pantalan village, President Roxas, Capiz; Arnel Vejo, 57, of Roxas City, and Boy Caras, 48, of Marikina City, Metro Manila.
Father Nelson Silvela, former parish priest of San Joaquin who allegedly approved the digging, remains at-large.
They are all charged for violating Republic Act No. 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009) for digging a 60-foot hole inside the chapel.
The historic cemetery and its mortuary chapel were constructed in 1892 through the initiative of Fr. Mariano Vamba, the last Augustinian parish priest of the town.
The chapel is the repository of the remains of priests and members of prominent families of San Joaquin.
The National Museum has recommended the rehabilitation of a portion of the Camposanto or mortuary chapel in San Joaquin, Iloilo which was damaged due to the unauthorized digging of alleged treasure hunters.
Angel P. Bautista, acting assistant director of the National Museum (NM), and Ernesto Toribio Jr., head of NM’s treasure hunting section, made the recommendation after an ocular inspection of the chapel, Mar. 1, 2016.
The National Museum declared the Camposanto a national cultural treasure in 2003.
San Joaquin Mayor Eduardo Servidad said the rehabilitation will be funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
“The National Museum will be sending us a structural engineer for the design. There will also be other requirements to be complied by the National Museum. The local government unit can supply manpower” Servidad said.