Some 10 freshly cut Ipil trees confiscated by law enforcement authorities on June 1.

The management of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) has vowed to pursue a criminal case against Barangay Tagabinet captain Juvylyl Bonda, who is facing allegations of possessing illegally cut wood.

Park superintendent Elizabeth Maclang told Palawan News that the criminal case might be filed concurrently with the ongoing administrative hearing following the apprehension on June 1.

The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) summoned Maclang and Bonda to attend the initial administrative hearing regarding the discovery of approximately 13 board feet of wood planks inside Bonda’s residence in Brgy. Tagabenit.

Additionally, a carabao cart was spotted carrying 10 freshly cut Ipil trees to Bonda’s home.

CENRO Puerto Princesa refrained from providing additional details due to a gag order issued by their regional office. However, they did mention that the initial proceedings would be followed by another hearing in the presence of the personnel of City Police Station 2, who were present during the search.

“Iyan ay pag-justify sa pag-forfeit ng kahoy noong June 1 na na-apprehend sa bakuran niya. Pero iba pa rin ang pagpa-file namin ng criminal case kasama ang Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sa korte na ito,” she said.

The wood planks were supposedly confiscated during the first operation on June 1, but Maclang said the issuance of a search warrant only happened on June 3.

When authorities went back to Bonda’s compound a second time on June 3, no illegally cut wood were found. Instead, they were discovered in plain sight in the house of her son already nailed on the floor.

Bonda asserted that the wood planks had been felled by Typhoon Odette, and she maintained that they possessed a permit from the authorities to salvage them.

However, Maclang stated that this is appears to be a false claim because Bonda failed to present the permit to the police during their search of her compound. She claimed that the authorities should have taken the wood planks upon seeing them in the open, citing the lack of a permit.

She accused that obstruction of justice was clearly committed when the wood were transferred to Bonda’s compound despite rangers in the park.

“Nakakagulat na with all confidence, sinasabi ni Kap Bonda, at ina-affirm ng anak niya noong nag-hearing kami sa CENRO-DENR na hindi nila alam ang kahoy na yon. Hindi nila naisip na noong nag-operate kami ay meron mga geotag ang photos, may satellite image na magsasabi na sa loob ng compound,” she said.

She expressed hope to recover the wood once a criminal case has been filed in court, as she believed it could set a “bad precedent” and have an impact on the credibility of law enforcement.

Maclang acknowledged the need for clarification from partner agencies regarding the situation, which led to a realization within the park’s management.

Palawan News made efforts to obtain Bonda’s side, but she has not responded to any communication attempts since Thursday.