Rescaling results in bigger excess in volume of seized lumber – Cenro

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/29 September)– They were apparently seeking a way out for their client, but a rescaling requested by the lawyers of a trader who transported lumber allegedly in excess of the volume allowed in her permit only showed a bigger excess than originally reported.

Felix Mirasol Jr., Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Malaybalay today said that Julieta Edma of Kalilangan, Bukidnon actually transported 443 pieces of sawn lumber measuring 11,718.64 board feet.

The previous scaling showed that her truck had only carried 440 pieces or 10,203.48 board feet of lumber, Mirasol added.

Edma’s transport permit showed she was supposed to ship only 364 pieces for a total of 8,270.86 board feet, he said.

Mirasol said Edma violated a DENR order allowing only a 2-percent excess of the number of pieces and volume authorized for shipment.

He said it was Edma who requested that the rescaling be held in the presence of her lawyers, the representatives of the apprehending police personnel, CENRO Malaybalay, and CENRO Pangantucan, which did the initial inventory and subsequently issued the transport permit to Edma on July 5.

Mirasol also noted that the permits issued for Edma’s sawmills had already expired on August 2, 2011.

CENRO Malaybalay has already filed charges against Julieta and her son Chester Edma, the truck driver, for violation of Revised Forestry Code as amended by EO 277 in relation to Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code. The case was filed on Sept. 19 by Leon Equipelag, special forestry prosecutor, before the Office of the City Prosecutor.

Mirasol said this is one of the notable apprehensions of forest products after President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive order no. 23, in February this year, declaring a moratorium on logging in national and residual forests in order to prevent its destructive effects and protect watersheds and river systems.

The truck, apprehended on Sept. 12 by police, carried lumber from premium species such as nato, igem, red lauan and white lauan.

The police’s Provincial Public Safety Command apprehended Edma’s truck for allegedly violating the “no plate, no travel” policy. The vehicle reportedly did not have a plate number at the back when it passed a checkpoint in Sumpong, this city.

Mirasol explained that the excess load made the permit invalid.

The DENR put the value of the seized lumber at P3.061 million, including the “10 times moral and exemplary damages prejudice” to the DENR.

The complaint was pending at the City Prosecutor’s Office as of Sept. 27, 2011. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)