The U.S. District Court for the NMI dismissed Wednesday a lawsuit filed by a couple against Rota Mayor Melchor A. Mendiola and several other government employees for allegedly invading their farm and destroying their crops and plants at the Sabana Protected Areas.
Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed with prejudice the lawsuit filed by Nurul Islam Paeda and Elizabeth Atalig Paeda after the parties reached a settlement. The court, however, shall retain jurisdiction over the case to enforce the settlement agreement.
Manglona granted the parties’ agreement to dismiss from the case Mendiola’s co-defendants: David M. Calvo, Brian M. Mendiola, Harry M. Mendiola, Francisco L. Mesngon, Michael B. Manglona, Benedicto M. San Nicolas, and 10 unnamed defendants.
The judge substituted these co-defendants with the Municipality of Rota, saying the municipality will assume all obligations of the dismissed defendants.
Each party agreed to bear his or her own costs and attorneys’ fees.
Attorney Ramon K. Quichocho is counsel for the Paedas. Attorney Joaquin DLG. Torres is counsel for Mendiola and co-defendants.
The Paeda couple filed the lawsuit in May 2011. They sued the defendants for conspiracy to deprive them of property, deprivation of property, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In their complaint, the Paedas asked the court to order the defendants to immediately cease and desist from harassing or bothering them, or stealing or destroying their properties.
Quichocho said that, on Jan 21, 2011, the defendants bulldozed the plaintiffs’ crops and opened at least four undesignated right of ways through the couple’s farm.
Quichocho said that Mr. Paeda has been farming at the Sabana Protected Areas since 1991. Sabana is a protected area on Rota but it is also designated for farming activities, under the supervision of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources.