Police, Bantay-Dagat seize hot lumber at sea
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (February 26) -- A routine sea-borne patrol by combined elements of this city's police force and personnel from Bantay-Dagat in the seawaters of this city turned out dramatic Tuesday morning as they discovered huge piles of sliced lumber loaded in a medium-built pumpboat.
Police Supt. Hector Enage, the City Police Chief, disclosed that as per scaling done by personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the confiscated lumber totaled 5,017.35 boardfeet, consisting of kalantas and white lawaan.
The boat was from Tandag, Surigao Del Norte bound for Cebu when its cargoes and passengers were apprehended after failing to present pertinent documents at about ten in the morning February 23.
Even the pumpboat lacked registration papers.
Supt. Enage identified the four crews of the boat as Abel Consigna, 48 years old, the boat captain, Antonio Consigna, 62, Jackylou Consigna, 21, and Ruel Banaybanay, 22, all coming from barangay Serong, Socorro, Surigao Del Norte.
In an interview over the phone, Enage said he was waiting for the DENR to formally file the appropriate charges in Court, specifically Sec. 68, PD 705 on anti-illegal logging.
But more than 18 hours had passed since these persons had been detained and no charges were filed yet, so the four would be released.
The lumber and the pumpboat, however, will remain in their custody, said Enage, who took over as the top cop of the city since November, 2009.
The three suspects, apparently a son, father, and grandfather, and their fourth companion are still at the Police station waiting for the wife so they can be back at Surigao.
Enqge was confident they can be summoned to appear in Court once formal charges are filed against them. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]