The 12 fishermen were found guilty of violating Republic Act 10067, or the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park (TRNP) Act of 2009, particularly the provision which bars any foreign person, foreign corporation or foreign entity from fishing, gathering and/or purchasing or possessing any fishery products within the protected body of water.
The crew members were sentenced to 6 to 10 years imprisonment, while the boat's captain was sentenced to up to 12 years imprisonment.
They are also required to pay a fine of $100,000 each. Failure to pay the fines will result in subsidiary imprisonment of 6 months, the court said.
The Chinese nationals were apprehended in Tubbataha last April 2013 after their vessel ran aground in the protected marine area. Boxes of pangolin carcasses were later discovered in their boat.
Charges of bribery were also filed against the fishermen today for allegedly trying to give $2,400 to the park rangers who spotted them.
Two of them were later released and deported to China because they were apparently minors.http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/08/05/14/ph-convicts-12-chinese-fishermen