Man who destroyed palm tree faces raps

Iloilo City Hall employees plant palm trees on Diversion Road, Mandurriao to replace those that either wilted or were intentionally destroyed by mischievous persons. (F. A. Angelo)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon 

Another one bites the dust.

Despite repeated reminders, another man was arrested for destroying a palm tree planted on Benigno Aquino Ave. in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

Ryan Gallo, 26, of Barangay Ermita, Dumangas, Iloilo, was caught cutting down a palm tree around 3:45 a.m. of Jan. 8, 2020.

The tree owned by the Iloilo City government was valued at P3,500.

While he admitted that he was drunk, Gallo said he had no intention of defiling the tree. He claimed it was damaged after he accidentally held on to it.

But a duty green guard of the City Hall who caught the suspect did not buy his alibi.

Gallo was arrested and hauled to Mandurriao Police Station.

At the police station, the suspect asked for forgiveness from Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas.

Gallo said he is willing to replace or pay for the palm tree.

But Police Major Marlon Valencia, Mandurriao police chief, said Gallo will still be charged for malicious mischief.

Last October 2018, Treñas offered a P50,000 reward for persons who can provide information that will lead to the arrest of vandals who destroyed palm trees along B. Aquino Avenue (more known as Diversion Road) in Mandurriao.

A month later, three persons were arrested for picking sunflowers planted along the access road in the said area.

Treñas filed a case against RJ Villegas, 28, and Alexis Nejena, 24, both of Barangay Bolilao, Mandurriao district; and Daniel Soropia, 18, of Barangay Divinagracia, La Paz district for malicious mischief.

A day after that, two more individuals were caught destroying palm trees at Bakhaw, Mandurriao.

The two suspected vandals – Alvin Salomeo, 24,of Brgy. 91, Dao, Capiz, and Jeffrey Palma, 24, of Brgy. Padios, Sara, Iloilo – were drunk when they allegedly destroyed the palm trees.

Salomeo and Palma faced a displeased Mayor Jerry Treñas on Wednesday and got a dressing down for their unruly behavior.