Negotiations. But in November and December 2003, no such case was
filed, although Angeles kept assuring HCA vice-president Antonio J.
Montalvan II that a case was underway. In late December 2003 or early
January 2004, Neri told me that the case would mention my father John
L. Elizaga because he was the vice-mayor. I told Neri it was okay to
Apparently, Emano was negotiating with the National
Museum and the Archaeological Studies Program (ASP) during this period. Because on January 19, 2004, the
City Council -- monopolized by members of the mayor’s political
party -- enacted
an ordinance authorizing the mayor to hire the ASP for the research
and excavation of Cagayan de Oro, specifically in Huluga, Macasandig,
and Indahag. This development was concealed from the HCA. Burton learned
about it only on the 21st, when she received a tip from a friend in
the City Hall. Surprised, Burton spoke to Neri using a cell phone.
Neri confirmed the news.
Burton was aghast that the ASP had made the deal with
Emano without informing the HCA or other concerned groups in Cagayan
de Oro. “What about [the archaeological code of] ethics?” Burton
asked Neri repeatedly but Neri told
Burton that the ASP had already submitted a proposed budget to the mayor.
Burton also told Neri that the ASP should not touch Huluga
because the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Cagayan de Oro
had issued an order to Emano
on August 18, 2003. This order was in response to the administrative
case filed a month earlier by the HCA against Emano and UKC Builders,
Inc. It states, partly, that the respondent must pay P50,000 “as
fine for violating ECC conditions No. 3” and that the respondent
must “immediately organize a team” to preserve Huluga in
coordination with the National Museum, the Research Institute for Mindanao
Culture (RIMCU) and the Department of Tourism. The city government submitted a motion for reconsideration but in September 2003, EMB issued its final decision on Huluga.
Burton was the director of RIMCU when she spoke to
Neri. The EMB order does not mention the ASP.