By Michelle Zoleta
The Philippine Star, Monday, September 06, 2010
LUCENA CITY, Philippines – The Department of Environment
and Natural Resources (DENR) will file criminal and
administrative charges against a municipal councilor of
Mauban town for “stealing” his own motorboat, which was
earlier seized by the Navy for transporting undocumented
DENR-Calabarzon Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria
said the department’s legal office is preparing charges
against Rodante Almacen, a councilor under Lakas- Kampi
and a political ally of Mauban Mayor Ferdinand Llamas.
Tamoria said a Navy patrol intercepted the boat that was
loaded with 482 pieces of Lauaan lumber at Lamon Bay off
Infanta, Quezon last Aug. 22.
He said the boat and the illegal cargo were turned over
to Community Environment and Natural Resources Office
(CENRO) in Real for safe keeping pending the filing of
charges against the offenders.
Forester Wilfredo Riña, DENR-Calabarzon’s chief of forest
resources conservation division, said Almacen arrived and
claimed ownership of the boat. He said Almacen requested
the CENRO personnel that the boat be brought to Mauban and
be placed under his custody, but the environment officers
rejected his request.
Riña and other CENRO personnel inspected the boat on Sept.
1 but the vessel was already missing. He said Almacen
reportedly took the boat at around 11 a.m. on Aug. 31,
telling the boat’s custodian the case had been settled at
Riña and his group proceeded to Mauban to look for the
boat but they failed to find the vessel.
Almacen denied the report that he stole the boat from its
custodian. He said he told another person to check up on
the boat and “he was the one who took it, not me.”
Almacen said he did not hide the boat as earlier reported,
but just put it in a safer place.
Almacen also clarified that he did not know that the boat
was transporting lumber. He said he sent some people to
fetch something from Infanta, and “I did not know that when
they returned, they brought lumber with them.”