THE defense counsel of a Russian national accused of killing an endangered sea turtle inside a marine sanctuary in Dauin, Negros Oriental, filed on Tuesday, June 20, a motion to dismiss the case.
Joel Obar, counsel for Anton Likharev of Vladivostok, Russia, filed the motion, saying “the law provides for an administrative procedure” under Section 130 of Republic 8550 as amended by Republic Act (RA) 10654 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines.
“Before you go to court, there is a principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies before the courts will take jurisdiction,” said Obar.
He said it is just similar to a barangay adjudication before going to court, otherwise, “the complainant has no cause of action.”
Likharev, 35, who is temporarily staying in Masaplod Sur, Dauin town, was arrested last May 17 after a Bantay Dagat fish warden saw in his possession a dead green sea turtle with a spear embedded on its head.
The Russian national later told police investigators that he did not see the green sea turtle resting in the corals while he was targeting some fish.
Police filed charges for violation of Section 97 of Republic Act 8550 as amended by Section 102 of RA 10654 against Likharev.
Section 102 of RA 10654 stipulates that it is unlawful to "take, catch, gather, sell, purchase, possess, transport, export, or ship out aquatic species listed in Appendix I of the Convention of the International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna or those categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources."
An offender can be penalized up to P5 million and imprisonment of 12 years and one day to 20 years. (PNA)