Justice Secretary Leila De Lima commended the Provincial Prosecutor of Camarines Norte for securing the conviction of an illegal logger in the province.
In a four-page Judgement, the Regional Trial Court of Daet, Camarines Norte Branch 38 found Jimmy Laviña guilty beyond reasonable doubt for Violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) 705 (Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines) as amended and renumbered and meted him an indeterminate penalty of four years, two months and one day of prision coreccional as minimum to eight years and one day of prision mayor as maximum.
The case stemmed from the Information filed by the Provincial Prosecutor against Laviña alleging that he violated the law for his “possession, custody, control and transport of ten (10) sacks of wood charcoal (timber) while loaded on a Kawasaki (Bajaj) motorcycle with hauler xxx covering a total volume of 1.0 cubic meter.”
Laviña was caught in flagrante by elements of PNP-Mercedes on Feb. 12, 2012 transporting ten sacks of undocumented wood charcoal worth P16,510.
In his ruling, Presiding Judge Roberto Escaro said “possession of forest products coming from legal source or not is immaterial because P.D. 705 as amended by E.O. No. 277 considers mere possession of forest products without proper legal documents as malum prohibitum.”
Judge Escaro reiterated that “in cases considered malum prohibitum, the commission of prohibited act is the crime itself. What is sufficient is that the offender has to perpetrate the act prohibited by Special Law in this case P.D. 705, and it is done knowingly and consciously.”
De Lima said “the protection of the environment and conservation of our natural resources are among our government’s paramount concern. Only through these means can we save Mother Earth. It thus behooves every Filipino to help the government in this endeavour by strictly adhering to environmental laws.”