The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) clarified Sunday that they did not confiscate schools division superintendent Dr. Natividad Bayubay’s two pet Southeast Asian box turtles.
Jovic Fabello, spokesperson of the Council, said too that they are still waiting for the recommendation of their legal department if a case should be filed against her for keeping endangered turtles as pets.
Fabello said Bayubay sent Engr. Christian Lazera of the Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division Office (SDO) in the afternoon of January 8 to hand over the turtles under their proper care.
“Nagpadala kami ng sulat noong January 8 ng hapon at na-receive yon ng DepEd Palawan, pero habang dinadala yong letter doon, yong engineer niya ay nandito na sa office at tinu-turn over sa amin itong dalawang Southeast Asian box turtles. Kumbaga nagkasalisihan… na-turn over na bago pa ma-receive yong sulat,” Fabello told Palawan News.
“Hindi siya (Bayubay) yong directly kausap namin kundi yong engineer II. Tinawagan daw siya ni Bayubay na i-surrender daw sa amin yong turtles. Sabi namin, ‘Saan niya (Bayubay) nakita yan?’ Nakita daw niya (Bayubay) on separate occasions yong dalawang [turtles]. Hindi na niya sinabi kung saan basta during field visits daw,” he added.
Fabello reiterated that the matter regarding Bayubay’s possible liability remains with their legal department at the moment.
The turtles, named Squirtle and Rafaelo, were first seen on Bayubay’s Facebook wall, which caught the attention of the PCSD. Southeast Asian box turtles are classified as “endangered” under PCSD Resolution 15-521.
“Wala kaming sinasabi na hindi sasampahan ng kaso si ma’am Bayubay. Nasa legal department pa namin ito at naghihintay kami ng recommendation kung iho-hold accountable ba siya,” he said. (with a report from Celeste Anna Formoso)