THREE women were arrested after they allegedly sold Agarwood wedges, locally known as “Lanete/ Lapnisan,” to an undercover police operative in Abuyog, Leyte Friday, December 4, 2020.
Police said the suspects, aged 45, 40 and 28, were residents of Barangay New Taligue, Abuyog.
Two of the suspects are housewives while the other is self-employed, police said.
Recovered from suspects' possession and control were Agarwood wedges weighing more or less 1.2 kilograms with an estimated market value of P70,000, and boodle money composed of 50 pieces of P1,000 bills and one original P1,000 bill with serial number K791284 used in the entrapment operation.
The arrested suspects were brought to Abuyog Municipal Police Station for proper documentation.
Police also coordinated with the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office in Abuyog for the identification of the recovered wood species.
The entrapment operation was conducted by elements of Regional Special Operations Group-Eastern Visayas led by Executive Master Sergeant Jobert Panaguiton, 805th Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion led by Captain Mark Don Alfred Leanza, Leyte Police Provincial Office-Provincial Intelligence Unit led by Major Dinvir Revita, and Abuyog Municipal Police Station led by Captain Antonio Angcay Jr.
The suspects will be facing charges for violation of section 77 of President Decree 705, or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines and violation of Republic Act 9147, otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier said trafficking of agarwood caused “indiscriminate cutting” of Lanete and Lapnisan trees, which are included in the national list of threatened plants and wildlife species in the country.
According to the DENR, high-quality agarwood, which is used in perfume and incense, could value as much as P300,000 to P350,000 per kilo. (SunStar Philippines)