Six accused fishermen acquitted by Dagupan court


SIX fishermen accused of illegal fishing with the use of explosives were acquitted by a Dagupan court because the prosecution failed to present hard evidence that they were illegally fishing as charged.

In an eight-page decision, Presiding Judge Emma Torio of the Regional Trial Court Branch 41, found accused Robert Pedeglorio, Jonathan Vidal, Eddie Ablog, Salvador Imbat, Jonathan Gonzales and Jimmy Rentar Jr. not guilty for failure of prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

The six were charged violating section 88, paragraph 3 of Republic Act 8550 which refers to fishing through explosives, noxious or poisonous substance, and/or electricity.

The accused on board two motorized bancas were reportedly spotted by Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources team in Quezon City while they were conducting surveillance on the presence of illegal fishing in Lingayen Gulf sometime on July 16, 2012. A third boat was also in the area.

The BFAR team reportedly heard explosions at the extreme side of Cayanga River in San Fabian town prompting them to approach the respondents’ boats and signaled them to stop.

The accused ran away and abandoned their boats.

On cross examination, however, Angelito Arnuco, an employee of BFAR, testified he did not see any explosives in the boats, did not see any fish caught with explosives.

Instead, the accusers were charged administratively for firing shots at the six.

Pediglorio, and Imbat said before they were arrested, they were shot at by the BFAR team several times prompting them to run and hide towards bamboos and bushes with thorns in San Fabian.

The court said that, “It follows then that there is no clear and concrete evidence that would prove that the six (6) accused caught, took and gathered fish with the use of explosive on July 19, 2012 as charged in the Information.” (Eva Visperas)

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