FOUR fishermen charged with theft for taking P16,000 worth of fish from the fishing vessel they used to work at in 1998 were found guilty by the Malabon Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 64 on Wednesday.

In a decision dated December 12, Judge Celso Magsino Jr. convicted Jessie Alcovendas, Leopolda Sebullen, Jimmy Calinao and Elorder Bañez, all former crew members of the Analyn VIII vessel owned by Lynvil Fishing Enterprise Inc. of qualified theft.

The four crewmen were caught stealing eight tubs of fish on July 31, 1998 at the warehouse of fishing vessel Analyn VIII.

During trial, witness Rosendo De Borja, operations manager of Lynville Enterprises, testified that the four accused are his former staff who used to have access to the vessel.

He said he fired the four even before the incident happened as they were earlier caught stealing fish while the vessel is still at the sea.

In its ruling, the court said all the elements of the crime of qualified theft are present in the case and it was clearly established that accused took fish from the warehouse of the fishing vessel owned by Lynville.

The four fishermen were sentenced to a penalty of one year imprisonment. (SunStar Philippines)