Jun 132013
The 12 suspected Chinese poachers whose vessel ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in April should be placed in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration if the Palawan court handling the case allows them to post bail, a bureau official said Thursday.
According to BI spokesperson Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, the bureau has already informed the Palawan court in a letter dated June 6 that if the 12 individuals are released, they should be turned over to Immigration authorities.
“In the event the court release the 12 poachers on bail, the BI has grounds to keep them in detention because they are undocumented aliens and they did not pass through the Immigration inspection when they entered,” she said.

Mangrobang added that the BI, which has already issued a deportation order against the 12, would hold them while the case is being resolved.

“It is one thing that they have a deportation order and another if the deportation order would be implemented,” she said.
The 12 have been charged with poaching, illegal possession of endangered wildlife and attempted bribery of park officials.
The Philippine Coast Guard discovered hundreds of frozen pangolins, individually wrapped in plastic and hidden in sacks, in the cargo hold of the suspected poachers’ vessel as it sat grounded on the reef.

Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are a threatened species and are covered by the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act of the Philippines.

In China, the pangolin’s meat and scales are are believed to have medicinal properties: the scales are used to treat skin ailments, while the meat is consumed as an aphrodisiac. — BM, GMA News

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