PHL: China must respect court decision

Philippine Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario rejects call of Chinese government to release without any condition nine convicted Chinese poachers.

“We must respect the decision of the court,” del Rosario said. “The penalties imposed on the nine Chinese fishermen were a decision of the judiciary, a separate but equal branch of the Philippine government.”

Eleven Chinese poachers were caught near Hasa-Hasa or Half-moon Shoal, approximately 60 nautical miles from west of Palawan – well within 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone of the country, by Philippine National Police Maritime Group and PNP Region 4-B with possession of over 500 live and dead marine turtles last May this year. Two out of eleven Chinese were found to be minors which resulted to deportation.

Remaining nine poachers were convicted by Judge Ambrosio de Luna of regional trial court in Palawan for violating Philippine Fisheries Code and Wildlife Resources Conservation Act. The court is asking USD100,000 for poaching and USD2,600 for violating the Wildlife Resource Conservation Act prior to deportation.

“China firmly opposes that and urges the Philippine side to unconditionally release the Chinese fishing boat and fishermen,” China said through its Foreign Ministry. “China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands) and the adjacent waters.”