PANGLAO.- Mayor Benedicto Alcala of this town explained yesterday why he came to the rescue of a fishing vessel off the Balicasag fish sanctuary which was arrested by a marine detachment because “there was no evidence to prove that it was found fishing in a restricted area”. The arrest was made last Black Saturday and had since became a political football in Panglao after V-Mayor Evangeline Bon-Lazaro made a spectacle out of the arrest saying that Mayor Alcala was using his power as mayor to bail out a friend in distress. The lady vice mayor is challenging Mayor Alcala for the Panglao top post. The fishing vessel is owned by Elmer Chavez, a known fishing magnate based in this city. The report said that Mayor Alcala dipped his finger for the release of the fishing boat and its paraphernalia and subsequently the fishers were freed. The mayor flatly denied the accusation.
“Dili na tinuod. Akong giestorya and marine nga nagdakop kay nisumbong nako ang tag-iya sa fishing boat nga wala mag-operate ang ilang Bangka. Tinuod nasulod sila sa 15 km kay gi-anud sila pero wa sila mag-operate mao ako giingnan ang marine nga ningdakop nga ceguro-a ninyo nga dunay evidencia aron ma-filan ug kaso. Wa ko mag-ingon nga i-release na. Kining politica jud maoi naka ingon ining news nga dili mao.” (It is not true. I have talked to the marine who reportedly caught the fishing boat. The owner told me that they did not operate their fishing boat. It is true they intrude in 15-km because they have been carried by sea current but they did not do fishing. I told the marine to make sure they have evidence so that appropriate charges will be filed against the owner of the fishing boat. I did not say to release them.) Mayor Alcala blamed politics of the news report.
Report said that the fishing boat of Elzon made its fishing routine off the seawaters here last week. The marine officers spotted them and apprehended them, it said. According to Mayor Alcala’s version of the story, the fishing vessel was arrested even if it was not casting its nets in the prohibited waters off Balicasag island. The vessel was only drifting aimlessly at sea, according to the mayor, asking where’s the violation when it was not caught fishing. In a check with the police office here, it was found out that the some four fishers who were not named were apprehended by the marines based in Balicasag island. It was not too long that they were released later on to avoid arbitrary detention without appropriate charges being filed against them, said P02 Ranillo Lumonsod in an interview. The police officer confirmed it was indeed Elzon's fishing boat that were apprehended.