PD 705 punishes possession, cutting, gathering, collecting, removal of FOREST products

We also reject appellant's argument that the law only penalizes possession of illegal forest products and that the possessor cannot be held liable if he proves that the cutting, gathering, collecting or removal of such forest products is legal. There are two (2) distinct and separate offenses punished under Section 68 of P.D. 705, to wit: In the first offense, one can raise as a defense the legality of the acts of cutting, gathering, collecting or removing timber or other forest products by presenting the authorization issued by the DENR. In the second offense, however, it is immaterial whether the cutting, gathering, collecting and removal of the forest products is legal or not. Mere possession of forest products without the proper documents consummates the crime. Whether or not the lumber comes from a legal source is immaterial because E.O. 277 considers the mere possession of timber or other forest products without the proper legal documents as malum prohibitum. [G.R. No. 120365. December 17, 1996]

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