10 held for selling giant pearls
Ghio Ong, Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents arrested 10 persons for illegally possessing and selling giant pearls in Ermita, Manila Monday afternoon.

In a press conference yesterday, the NBI’s Environmental Crimes Division (EnCD) presented Jonathan Aceres, Victor Aceres, Gerardo Cerezo, Manuel Tempra, Norberto Enverzo, Jesusalora Oliva, Vincent Tanggara, Dixie Marie Madridano, Natranillo Lariosa and Nonito Grandia.

The NBI staged the sting after receiving information in December 2016 that a group from Tarlac was selling giant pearls produced by taklobo or giant clams, considered an endangered species, from Palawan.

The suspects were selling the pearls, weighing at least 30 kilos, at P150,000 per kilo. Photos taken from the suspects showed the pearls were still attached to the shells. 

Operatives, through a confidential informant, haggled with the suspects, who agreed to deliver three giant pearls for P97 million at a restaurant on Kalaw street.

The suspects were charged with violating the Philippine Fisheries Code. 

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources confirmed that the clams were genuine but the pearls attached to their shells have yet to be checked.

The group might have been riding on the discovery in August last year of a 34-kilo giant pearl that a fisherman from Puerto Princesa City kept for years, NBI-Palawan EnCD chief Czar Eric Nuqui said.                             

NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
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