Philippine court orders 9 jailed Chinese fishermen freed
A Philippine court has ordered the release of nine Chinese fishermen who served a year in prison for poaching and taking hundreds of endangered giant sea turtles from a disputed South China Sea shoal, a court staffer said Tuesday.
Judge Ambrosio de Luna of the regional trial court in western Palawan province ordered jail officials to release the fishermen to the immigration bureau be- cause all have served their prison sentence of 6 months for each of the two crimes and the prosecution did not object, acting clerk of court Lourdes Dadule said.
Dadule said de Luna granted the motion for release filed by the fish- ermen’s lawyer, which is required despite the men serving out their sentence. She said it will be up to the immigration bureau to arrange for the fishermen’s deportation.
Acting Palawan provincial jail warden Alejo P. Acosta said the men were temporarily still in his custody as of Tuesday because the immigration office in Palawan has no facility to hold them while they wait for the Chinese consul who will accompany them on their flight out of Palawan.