Seven convicted for violation of forestry laws

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bicol revealed that seven individuals were convicted for violation of  Sec. 68 and Sec. 77 of Presidential Decree No. 705 as amended, for possessing timber or other forest products without legal documents required under existing forest laws.

DENR Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales said the recent conviction would bolster the anti-illegal logging operations of the agency particularly in Catanduanes where the convicts were apprehended.

We have scored successive prosecution of persons involved in the illegal wood charcoal trade in the province of Camarines Norte and now we prosecuted illegal tree cutters in Catanduanes, so we should commend our field personnel and our partners in the Phil. National Police and the Armed Forces for continuously patrolling and conducting mobile checkpoints,” Gonzales said.

Among those convicted of the said offense were Gabriel Esteban, Fernando Esteban, Gilbert Belaos, Eldie Santelices, Ronie Vista, Reymar Gida and Eugenio Borres with five separate information filed against them.

The seven were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating the said environmental law by Judge Lelu Contreras, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 42 and 43 of Virac, Catanduanes. 

Consequently, they were all sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of one year, eight months and twenty-one days as minimum and five years, five months and eleven days as maximum.

Earlier, Director Gonzales issued a stern directive to field officers to prosecute all those who shall be violating existing forestry laws to underpin enforcement efforts under Executive Order 23 or the moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests.

Press Release: June 10,2014