Calamba City, Laguna – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region IV-A (CALABARZON) has won a criminal case against illegal offenders namely Rizal Mofar and Arjhum Gaviola. The offenders violated Presidential Decree No. 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.

Mofar and Gaviola were arrested during the entrapment operations conducted by DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF), Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade (Task Force POGI), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on June 8, 2020.

Confiscated from the accused were 8.8 kilos of Agarwood, locally known as Lapnisan, with a total value of Php 14M, and a Toyota Hilux.

Agarwood or Lapnisan is categorized as a “threatened” plant species and considered “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The accused pleaded guilty to a lower offense, and on March 20, 2023, Regional Trial Court Branch 71-Antipolo City promulgated its judgment and found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and were sentenced to 2-year imprisonment and payment of Php 10,000.00 for each accused. In addition, the Court ordered the transfer of custody of the confiscated forest products and conveyance to the Office of the Regional Executive Director of DENR CALABARZON.

In compliance with the court order, the official turnover of custody was held on April 24, 2023, during the Monday convocation program.

RED Nilo B. Tamoria said that “ang mga bagay na ito ay huwag lamang nating tingnan as accomplishment, kundi isang magandang experience at references para mapaunlad o ma-update pa natin ang ating mga patakaran”.

Tamoria also recalled that before he was designated as RED of DENR CALABARZON, he was the former Executive Director of Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS) of the DENR.

Present during the turnover were Dr. Rogelio D. Demelletes Jr. and For. Nermalie M. Lita of Biodiversity Management Bureau; Assistant Regional Directors for Management and Technical Services Ronita A. Unlayao, and Jose Elmer C. Bascos, respectively; Chiefs of Enforcement and Legal Divisions, Annabelle M. Barquilla and Atty. Dominic O. Bermudez, respectively.

DENR CALABARZON continues to strengthen the enforcement of environmental laws in the region along with competent DENR lawyers in the prosecution of environmental law offenders. ###