After months of surveillance, two Chinese businessmen and three Filipinos are now facing charges for possession of endangered wildlife.
On the 17th of January 2014, members of the PCSDS Enforcement Team – Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (WTMU), conducted two separate operations on the strength of search warrants issued by Judge Angelo R. Arizala of the Regional Trial Court Branch 52 and Judge Leah Baguyo of the Regional Trial Court Branch 48 of the Province of Palawan
The two Chinese nationals, James Sy and Tony Sy, were charged with violation of Section 27 (f) – collecting, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives – of Republic Act 9147 (Wild Life Act). The three Filipinos charged were Joyce Everit Ty, Kent Abriol and Elbert Mendoza.
The first search warrant was served on the morning of the 17th to James Sy at his residence in Barangay Milagrosa, Puerto Princesa City. The search yielded confiscation of pangolin scales, frozen whole meat of pangolin and several endangered seashells like samong, triton’s trumpet, white-lipped oyster and black-lipped oyster.
The second search conducted in the afternoon of that same day was in a house inside a compound in Barangay Bancao-Bancao allegedly rented by a certain Joyce Ty, the wife of Tony Sy. The team found sacks and boxes filled with endangered shells, sharks fins, dried seahorses, pipefish and turtle scutes ready for transport. They also found ice chests and freezers filled with frozen pangolin meat. Tony Sy was not in the area when the team arrived. Only his worker, Elbert Mendoza, was there. As the WTMU searched the place, Mendoza, operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation, a member of the Barangay Council and several barangay tanods of Barangay Bancao-bancao were present.
As for Kent Abriol, he was caught red-handed by a couple of WTMU operatives as he tried to transport 2 boxes containing 19 heads of frozen pangolin on his tricycle from Tony Sy’s compound to an unknown destination.
|Cassis cornuta (Horned helmet shell)||55 pcs||Endangered|
|Turbo marmoratus (Marbled turban)||153 pcs||Endangered|
|Charonia tritonis (Triton’s trumpet)||12 pcs||Endangered|
|Tridacana sp. (Giant clams)||2 pcs||Endangered|
|Trochus niloticus (Giant top shell snail)||5,674 pcs||Endangered|
|Cypraea tigris (Tiger cowrie)||124 pcs||Endangered|
|Pinctada maxima (White lip oyster)||496 pcs||Endangered|
|Pinctada margaritifera (Black lip oyster)||1 pc||Endangered|
|Hippocampus sp. (Seahorse)||77 grams||Endangered|
|Mixed Green turtle and Hawksbill turtle scutes||24.1 kilograms||Critically endangered|
|Pangolin scales||1/3 kilogram||Endangered|
|Frozen Pangolin||75 heads||Endangered|
The pangolin meat and scales, turtle scutes, seahorses and shells were probably destined for China to be used in culinary delicacies, traditional medicine and handicrafts, according to the investigating team.
The PCSDS did not issue any permits allowing those charged to collect, possess, transport and trade the items seized.