35 individuals behind oil spill in Oriental Mindoro face charges
35 individuals behind oil spill in Oriental Mindoro face charges
35 individuals behind oil spill in Oriental Mindoro face charges
by Ellicia Del Mundo07 June 2023
Photo courtesy: PCG FAcebook

Thirty-five individuals including the operator and officials of the sunken oil tanker MT Princess Empress, which caused a massive oil spill in Oriental Mindoro in February, are facing criminal charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) - Environmental Crime Division and Pola, Oriental Mindoro Mayor Jennifer Cruz led the filing of multiple counts of falsification and multiple uses of falsified documents under Article 172 in relation to Article 171 (7) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) against 35 individuals on Tuesday, June 6.

Based on the oil spill charges briefer, of the 35 individuals, 7 RDC Reield Marine Services Inc. incorporators and directors, 6 MT Princess Empress crew members, and 19 Philippine Coast Guards (PCG) are facing charges for multiple counts of falsification.

The complainants stated that the RDC Reield Marine Services Inc., the operator of MT Princess Empress, allegedly falsified its Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) — the authorized permit to operate.

“Issuance of an authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document when no such original exists,” they said.

The complainants said that the PCG officials are held liable as they conducted the pre-departure inspection wherein they checked the validity of CPC.

"The captains of the vessel are likewise liable as they are considered general agents of the shipowner," they added.

Meanwhile, two directors of Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) - Region V and the head of Marina shipyard - Region V, and two RDC Reield officials are facing multiple counts of falsification of public documents.

The complainants said that MARINA and RDC Reield Marine Services Inc. “allegedly conspired for the purpose of illegally registering the MT Princess Empress" with false documents including a Construction Certificate and Tonnage Measurement Certificate and Certificate Ownership, and Certificate of Philippine Registry.

Alongside, two MARINA engineering officials are facing perjury under Article 183 of the RPC.

They said that the two MARINA officials allegedly signed the "supporting documents to apply for a Tonnage Measurement Certificate, and the affidavit of ownership and builder's certificate obtained the Tonnage measurement certificate."

“The certificate was issued in favor of MT Princess Empress,” the complainants pointed out.

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