THE City Prosecutor’s Office formally charged an Indonesian national and several Filipinos for alleged smuggling of live exotic wildlife animals, earlier this month.

Charged in violation of Republic Act 9147 otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act were Billy Kawekes, Mike Artucilla, Felina Artucilla, Catalino Gabronino, Jose Marie Justan, Warren Aguilar, Roger Abria, and Menira Maulana.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Prosecutor Oliver Saniel found probable cause to hold them for court trial based on the accounts of Exzel Hernandez, U Bahinting, Geraldo de Luna and Wilfredo Castillo of the National Bureau of Investigation-Southeastern Mindanao Regional Office (NBI-Semro) and Leonilo Rivera and Jose Lechoncito Jr. of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The NBI-Semro first received an intelligence report on February 1 that the Artucilla couple was smuggling endangered species of animals from Indonesia on board a sea vessel.

In coordination with the DENR, the NBI learned that the animals were being kept in a property at Mahayag, Bunawan District.

A raid was held around 4:30 p.m. of February 3 by a composite team of the NBI and DENR. The team first saw a couple of Philippine deers that has been kept by the Matucilla couple without permit.

Further inspection recovered four Palm Cockatoo, 24 pieces Eclectus, 31 White Cockatoo, 100 Chattering Lory, four Victoria Crown Pigeon, one Yellow Crested Cockatoo, one Brahminy kite, 24 Lory, one Black Capped Lory, 13 Violet necked Lory, 10 Indonesian Mynah, four pigeons, 11 Birds of Paradise, one Monkarel, one Black Lory, three Green Naped Parrot, one Hornbill, three Iguanas, one Monitor Lizard, five Vipers, two Kuskos, and 85 pieces Sugar Glider.

Saniel recommended a bailbond of P4,000 for each of the respondent's temporary liberty. (RMH)