MANILA - The suspected Chinese poachers arrested near Palawan last week are also facing charges for illegally entering the country, Immigration Bureau Commissioner Siegfred Mison said Monday.
"[I] just signed the charge sheet for illegal entry and undesirability a few hours ago. BI ready to take custody under immigration law," Mison told ABS-CBNNews.com on Twitter.
The charges are separate from their indictment before a Palawan court on Monday for violation of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the information for violation of Section 87 (Poaching in Philippine Waters) and Section 97 (Fishing or Taking of Rare, Threatened or Endangered Species) of the Code against 9 of the 11 arrested Chinese poachers.
Two of the arrested poachers, both of whom are minors, were turned over to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to undergo repatriation proceedings.
The charges against them were dismissed by the DOJ.
Palawan Provincial Prosecutor Allen Roz Rodriguez said the 9 poachers charged in court were given a public lawyer to represent them during the inquest proceedings.
The poachers, however, refused the assistance of the lawyer, insisting that they were fishing in Chinese waters, Rodriguez said.
The DOJ recommended a P30,000 bail for each accused for violation of Section 87, and P40,000 each for violation of Section 97.
The DOJ, however, did not say if the recommended bail amounts are for the whole cases or for each count of the protected marine turtles found on the Chinese fishermen's boat.
“As per inventory, out of the 555 sea turtles that were recovered, only 177 were found alive, while the rest were dead. Two hundred seven of them were slaughtered and stuffed,” the Philippine National Police Maritime Group said in a report. - with a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News