Couple tagged in coral smuggling flee country PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 16:43

A couple tagged in the smuggling of black corals and other marine resources have eluded Senate’s warrant of arrest order by leaving the country last June 7, a day before the Bureau of Immigration could put them in the watch list order.

At the resumption of the inquiry of the Senate committee on environment and natural  resources on Monday, Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Jose Balajadia reported that Jose Pring, a Chinese national who used five aliases, left the country in the afternoon of June 7.

Using his alias Li Yu Ming, Joe Pring left Zamboanga City on board a Cebu Pacific flight 5J854 at 1:45 p.m. and took a connecting flight 57142 bound to Hong Kong at 7:10 p.m.

Olivia Lim Li was not with her husband Joe Pring but Senate committee on environment and natural resources chairman Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri received information that Olivia also left the country via backdoor going to Malaysia.

Zubiri said Pring is a Chinese national who migrated in the country from Fujian, China in 1997 while Li, according to Balajadia, is a Filipina.
Last week, the Senate ordered a warrant arrest order against the couple for refusing to attend the ongoing Senate investigation into the wanton destruction of coral reefs in Mindanao.

Irked by the couple’s move to elude arrest, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to use country’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong and China to bring back Joe Pring in the Philippines.

”I’m asking the DOJ to use our extradition treaty to make sure that these guys will be brought back here in our country and send them to jail,” Enrile said.
DOJ undersecretary Ricardo Paras III assured the Senate panel to send back Joe Pring and his wife in the country.

Paras said the DOJ will also respond to Enrile’s call for the creation of a special prosecution team that will look into the cases filed against Olivia Lim Li and Joe Pring five years ago.

Enrile said the Senate may ask for the assistance of the International Police (Interpol) for the immediate arrest of Olivia whom he suspects has no Philippine passport.
Enrile lambasted Zamboanga City prosecutors Alfredo Jimenez Jr. and Gladdy Bernabe for delaying for four years the cases filed against the couple in 2007 by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

”The DOJ should take over the case. Reinvestigate and investigate these guys (city prosecutors). If not for your failure to file necessary cases against these people (smugglers), this (massive destruction of corals reefs) could not have happened,” Enrile said.

Zubiri agreed with Enrile that the city prosecutors of Zamboanga became “negligent” of their job to prosecute the people responsible for the smuggling of the illegally poached black corals, sea shells, turtles and other marine resources in Moro Gulf and Sulu Sea.

”The damaged coral reefs area is twice as big as Metro Manila. We have to pinpoint who are responsible for this crime against environment. Let’s send them to jail,” Zubiri said.

Both Zubiri and Enrile believe that ‘administrative case’ should be filed against the city prosecutors who neglected their duty.
Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat presented to the committee the pictures of Joe Pring and his wife Olivia.

Meanwhile, Benny Yu and wife Rosario explained to the committee that although they owned the Yuscom Warehouse where the illegally poached marines resources have been found, the items all belonged to Joe Pring.

”Joe Pring is only renting our warehouse and we have no idea that they are using the warehouse for this kind of purpose,” Rosario Yu said.
The couple, however, admitted that they knew Joe Pring and his wife since 1997. Rosario claimed that Olivia and Pring were their partners in one of their businesses with only 1.8-percent share.

Aside from prosecution of the culprits of the wanton destruction of black corals, Zubiri also wanted to have a remedial legislation that would put an end to the destruction of the marine resources, specifically black corals.

”We don’t want ‘ningas cogon’ system here. We want an action and positive results that would send the culprits to jail,” Zubiri said.
Zubiri said another hearing would be necessary, hoping that the Li couple would be able to attend and shed lights on the smuggling of the black corals and marine resources.

Aside from Li Yu Ming, other names of Joe Pring are Lee Nyu Ming, Lee Yu Ming, Jo Beng Li and Giog Beng.