By Jocelyn R. Uy
The 12 Chinese nationals arrested for alleged poaching at Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in April will not be deported until after their case has been terminated or they have served their sentence, according to the Bureau of Immigration. Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, spokesperson for the immigration bureau, said on Wednesday that a deportation order had been issued for the 12 Chinese, who were “undocumented,” but they must “remain detained” until the order could be implemented.
Mangrobang said the suspected poachers would be turned over to the immigration bureau only if they would be released on bail.
Marine park rangers arrested the 12 Chinese when their vessel ran aground on an atoll at Tubbataha in early April.
A search of the vessel yielded a large cargo of frozen pangolin meat, believed bound for China’s exotic-food market.
The pangolin, or anteater, is an endangered species. It is protected by Philippine and international laws.
The authorities seized the pangolin meat, and the Tubbataha Reefs management brought poaching charges against the 12 Chinese nationals in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province, from where the World Heritage Site in the middle of the Sulu Sea is administered.
Palawan Provincial Prosecutor Allen Ross Rodriguez said his office had received an order from the immigration bureau for the turnover of the suspected poachers for deportation proceedings.
Rodriguez said the order was received at his office on Tuesday. More....