2 fishing boats in police custody vanish
TWO fishing boats seized last week by Bantay Dagat watchers off Daanbantayan town in north Cebu have disappeared while in police custody.
The vessels were anchored 300 meters from the shore in front of the Daanbantayan police station and Bantay Dagat office.
Policemen blamed bad weather brought about by typhoon “Ompong” for not noticing that the two fishing vessels — John Patrick 858 and F/V Dan — were already gone Thursday night.
“It was raining hard and the waves and there were big waves. It was difficult to see whether the vesells were still there,” said PO3 Alfredo Mandal, chief investigator of the Daanbantayan police, after interviewing some of the 11 policemen on duty.
The vessels were last seen anchored at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
An hour later a Bantay Dagat member reported the vessels’ disappearance.
The fishing boats were seized for illegal fishing in municipal waters in a joint operation by Bantay Dagat members of the three towns of Daanbantayan, Sta. Fe and Bantayan on Oct. 5, Sunday.
Loy Madrigal, former Capitol security chief, took part in the apprehension with the “go signal” of Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro.
The 55 crew members of both vessels were arrested then later released on Thursday.
The two fishing boats were placed in custody of the Daanbantayan police while the Provincial Aquatic Resources Adjudication Board (Parab) decides what case to file against them.
A report on the disappearance of the seized boats was submitted yesterday by PO3 Mandale.
He recommended a separate investigation by the Provincial Intelligence and Detection Management (PIDMB).
Mandal said the two police teams on duty failed to follow the order of Mayor Corro to look after the vessel as Parab has yet to decide what cases to file on Monday.
The violations include section 90 of Republic Act (RA) 8550 or section 10 of Cebu Provincial Ordinance (CPO no. 2012-05).
“I can’t say if there are lapses on the part of the police, or they have something to do with this incident. I want an investigation first before commenting,” said Mayor Corro.
Corro said local authorities are still checking if the boats sank, were blown away or were deliberately removed or released.
“Dili pud to pwede nga mawala nalang kalit nga mga sakyanana nga naka-angkla man to. Kung maanod man, naa rato sa duol (They couldn’t just disappear suddenly because they were anchored there. If it sank, the boats would just be nearby. ),” said Corro.
Despite the the disappearance of the vessels, the mayor said cases for illegal fishing will still be filed against the owner, Allan Higdal Daniel, and crew.
“We mean business here. It doesn’t matter if all the crew were released after detention or the vessels disappeared as long as they are identified, they will not be able to escape the case,” said Corro to CDN.
“We are still pursuing the case. This is to relay our message to all those who plan or are already doing illegal fishing activities in our municipal waters that we will apprehend them,” Corro said.
The two vessels which were apprehended last Sunday contained at least 155 basins of fish. Corro said they distributed the fish to residents in neighboring towns of Daanbantayan.
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