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BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES

ADJUDICATION COMMITTEE SECRETARIAT


REGIONAL FISHERIES OFFICE NO.9
R.T. LIM BOULEVARD, ZAMBOANGA CITY

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC


RESOURCES REGIONAL FIELD OFFICE NO.9
FISHERIES PROTECTION AND LAW
ENFORCEMENT GROUP (FPLEG) represented by
PEDLING S. MUNAP, AL-HAJJ
Complainant,
FOR: Violation of Section 86 and 97
of Republic Act No. 8550 as
amended by Republic Act No.
WILMA P. OCHEA (Owner) 10654
RICARDO P. RONDINA (Boat Captain)
Respondents
x-------------------------------------------------------x

ANSWER

COMES NOW, Respondent WILMA P. OCHEA by herself,


unto this Honorable Office, most respectfully submits her Verified
Answer and further states, that:

1. She is one of the respondents in the above-captioned case,


being the Boat owner, for Violation of Section 86 and 97 of RA
8550 as amended by RA 10654.

2. She received last December 5, 2017 a summons from the


Hearing Officer Atty. Benjan B. Ilahan directing her to submit
her answer within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof, or until
December 20, 2017. Thus, this verified answer is timely filed
today December 19, 2017.

ADMISSIONS AND DENIALS

3. Respondent admits the official circumstances of complainant


Pedling S. Munap, Al-hajj, including his authority as nominal
complainant therein.

4. Respondent admits ownership of the F/V Wilma 2 and that the


same is duly registered under her name.

5. Respondent admits that the F/V Wilma 2 was towed/ escorted


by the Coast Guard unit to Sangali Port on July 20, 2017.

6. Respondent however denies that the reason F/V Wilma 2 was


escorted/towed by Coast Guard Unit was on account of the
conduct of illegal fishing, it being a mere conclusion of law.

7. Respondent denies the allegation contained in the Verified


Complaint executed by Gefel Hope M. Mamhot, specifically the

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3rd paragraph in so far as it alleged that the boat was spotted on
actual fishing. The truth of the matter is that the Coast Guard
Unit merely crossed path with the F/V Wilma 2 which was on
its way to the port. This was after the Coast Guard Unit
apprehended F/V Kring Kring on the act of fishing illegally. This
will be elaborated further in the subsequent paragraphs.

8. Respondent likewise denies the paragraph 8 of the verified


complaint executed by Gefel Hope M. Mamhot in so far as it
alleges proper turn-over of custody between BFAR and
Philippine Coast Guard for lack of sufficient knowledge to form
an opinion. The respondent was never informed by either the
BFAR or the Philippine Coast Guard on the matter.

9. Respondent likewise denies the paragraph 8 of the verified


complaint by Gefel Hope M. Mamhot in so far as it alleges
proper inspection and inventory. The truth of the matter is that
up to this very moment the respondent was not aware of any
inventory conducted on F/V Wilma 2. The Respondent has not
in fact been informed, let alone furnished of any document
purporting to show any inventory ever conducted. Due process
behooves that a receipt on the inventory of seized items, if any
be furnished the herein respondent at the very moment of its
seizure.

ULTIMATE FACTS

10. On July 20, 2017 at on or about 8:35 AM while F/V Wilma 2


was sailing towards the Port of Sangali when it crossed path
with the Coast Guard Unit patrolling the area. Right there and
then, the Coast Guard Unit threw a rope towards the boat and
signaled as if to instruct the boat’s crew that it be tied on.
Thereafter, the Coast Guard went on to tow the boat to Port of
Sangali.

11. In about 20 minutes the F/B Wilma 2 was towed along with
another boat F/B Kring-Kring which was earlier on purportedly
apprehended.

12. When the rope was tied on and before the Coast Guard did
effect the towing of F/B Wilma 2, nobody from the Coast Guard
Unit then went down to the F/B Wilma 2 to inspect (as a matter
of procedure) and inform the fishing boat Captain of any
violation/s and the reason/s why it is being towed.

13. Captain Charlie Q. Rances, PCG, the head of the apprehending


team did not issue any document(s) to the fishing boat captain
such as Boarding Certificate, Apprehension Report and/or
Notice of Violation and Inventory Listings of items on the fishing
boat at the time of its towing.

14. Upon arrival at the Sangali Port, a Coast Guard Personnel then
took the list of names of fishing boat crews and directed the
fishing boat captain to sign the following documents:
Inspection/Apprehension Report and Boarding Certificate both

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duly signed by ENS. Ramon N. Padillo IV, PCG. Notably, he was
not the head of the apprehending team.

15. The documents they were coerced into signing made it appear
as though it was conducted at the time of towing when in truth
and in fact it was only done at the port. Hence, grossly
erroneous, misleading and false. Copy of the Document is
hereto attached as ANNEX “1” and ANNEX “1-A”. Notably the
violation cited thereon pertains to Sec. 95 of RA 8550 as
amended by RA10654. Yet, the herein respondent now is made
to answer for violation of Section 86 and 97 of the aforecited
law.

16. Mr. Gefel Hope M. Mamhot’s Verified Complaint is clearly not of


his personal knowledge because he was not present at the time
of towing.

17. This Honorable Office charges the respondent for Violation of


Sections 86 and 97 of RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654.

18. Paragraph 3 of Section 86 of IRR of RA 8550 as amended by RA


10654 provides that the discovery of any person in possession
of a fishing gear or operating a fishing vessel in a fishing area
where he has no license or permit shall constitute a prima facie
presumption that the person is engaged in unauthorized
fishing. However, Rule 86.3 of the same IRR provides for the
Application of the Prima Facie Presumption which states that
the prima facie presumption will not apply if the gear of the
vessel is not engaged in fishing or deployed or in cases of
authorized and supervised sea and net trials.

19. Applying the said provisions of IRR to the instant case, it is very
clear that F/B Wilma 2 cannot be gainsaid to have engaged in
illegal fishing when apprehended. Verily, nothing in the verified
complaint would indicate that it was apprehended while the
gears were being used or that the boat was in the act of fishing.
In fact, as already explained F/B Wilma 2 was on its way to the
Port of Sangali when it crossed path with the Coast Guard Unit
patrolling the area.

20. It was never informed of any violation when it was towed by the
Philippine Coast Guard.

21. That even the prima facie presumption that it was engaged in
illegal fishing cannot be established, the allegation that the
respondent shall be held liable for illegal fishing has no leg to
stand on. Hence, the same must be outrightly dismissed.

22. The Verified Complaint executed by Gefel Hope M. Mamhot


failed to clearly state the acts constitutive of the violations
charge against herein respondent.

23. The respondent respectfully urges this Honorable Office to drop


the instant charges against her for utter lack of merit.

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PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered it is hereby prayed of this


Honorable Office that this verified answer be admitted and considered,
and the charge against respondent for Violation of Section 86 and 97 of
RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654 be ordered DISMISSED for lack of
merit.

Praying for all other reliefs and remedies deemed just and
equitable under the premise.

Most respectfully submitted.

December 20, 2017, Zamboanga City, Philippines.

FOR HERSELF:

WILMA P. OCHEA
Respondent
Copy furnished:

BFAR Adjudication Committee Secretariat


Regional Fisheries Office No. 9
RT Lim Blvd., Zamboanga City

File.

Verified Answer–Ochea Page 4 of 5


Republic of the Philippines)
Zamboanga City ) s.s.

VERIFICATION

I, WILMA P. OCHEA, of legal age, married, Filipino citizen, and


resident of Brgy. Divisoria, Zamboanga City, after having been sworn in
accordance with law hereby depose and state:

1. That I am one of the respondents in the above-entitled case;

2. That I have caused the preparation of the foregoing answer;

3. That I have read the contents thereof and that the allegations
therein are true and correct to the best of my own personal
knowledge and/or based on authentic documents.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set forth my hand this


19th day of December 2017, at Zamboanga City, Philippines.

WILMA P. OCHEA
Respondent

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this ___ day of December


2017 at Zamboanga City, Philippines, affiant having exhibited to me his
identification card with her photograph and signature thereon, as
competent proof of his identity.

ATTY. LANOEL S. LAJA


Notary Public
Until December 31, 2017
Doc No. _____ Notarial Commission No. 70-2016
Page No. ____ Roll No. 65138; 6/ 17/ 2016
Book No. ____ IBP No. 1042036; 6/13/2016
SERIES OF 2017 PTR No. 1387463; 01/03/2017, Zamboanga City

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