Police foils illegal trading of endangered species

By Sarita Kare, ABS-CBN Southern Tagalog

Posted at Jul 25 2010 08:12 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2010 04:12 AM

BATANGAS City, Philippines - Police authorities were able to intercept a vehicle containing endangered species from Palawan at a checkpoint in Bgy. Moson, San Luis, Batangas Sunday morning.

Together with other members of the Task Force Kalikasan, police authorities were able to rescue from the illegal trade more than 100 Myna Birds, 47 blue napped parrots, a Palawan hornbill, a Palawan bear cat and a leopard cat.

The van’s passengers were unable to produce pertinent documents on why they were carrying with them the endangered species that they were supposed to deliver to Manila.

Melchor Limlengco, the driver, and companion Armando Ariola insisted they had nothing to do with the illegal activity.

Both said they were just hired to transport the animals.

Another colleague, Jeffrey Almendraz, claimed they were only instructed by a certain Owel of Palawan for the delivery.

Erick dela Cruz and Geldred Legarda, who knew they were doing something illegal, said they agreed to go along because of financial needs.

All claimed they did not know the identity of the buyer.

Authorities say the endangered animals could amount to half a million if sold.

They believe that a large group syndicate is behind this.

The members of the delivery group are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9147 also known as the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Posession and their Habitat.

If found guilty, they will be facing 2 to 4 years of imprisonment. They will also be ordered to pay a fine of up to P300,000 pesos.

Police said the endangered animals have already been transferred to the Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City.

Three Myna birds have already died, police said.