By Recto Mercene
THE Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) on Monday relieved Gerald Bravo, an employee of the Office of Transportation Security (OTS), who facilitated the botched attempt to smuggle out 47 rare animals out of the country last week.
Bravo is a security screening officer of the OTS, who now faces charges for violation of wildlife laws under Republic Act 9147. If found guilty, Bravo may be sentenced to four-year imprisonment, the Miaa said in a statement.
Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the seized boxes, bearing Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) stickers, which say “Inspected,” yielded 11 tarsiers, 11 monitor lizards, eight sailfin lizards, six watersnakes, five ratsnakes, three scops owls, and two juvenile and one adult Philippine eagle owls. The rescued wildlife were taken to the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City for quarantine and rehabilitation.
Authorities said Bravo is the middle man who prepares the wildlife, applies for the permits and physically sends the animals to Japan through Philippine Airlines’s cargo service. He is now facing charges for violation of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
The boxes were supposed to contain the acquatic plant species, Echinidorous amazonicus and Alocasia macrorrhizos, based on the phytosanitary permit granted by the BPI-Central Office.
Bravo also allegedly processed the documents for shipment to a certain Shoji Masuyama of Japan.
Bravo has been turned over to the Department of Justice.