Prosecutor dismisses PAWS' dog slaughter complaint vs 'Oro'
MANILA, Philippines – According to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), their complaint against the producers and director of the movie Oro for the violation of Section 9 of RA 8485 has been dismissed by Pasig City Assistant Prosecutor John Y. Ong.
This, after the group filed a complaint in January regarding a dog slaughter scene in the film. After investigating the issue then, PAWS said that the people behind the filmmakers violated sections 6 and 9 of the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 (Republic Act No. 8485).
When the issue was raised, director Alvin Yapan and actress Irma Adlawan said that none of the cast members or production staff killed the dog. The consumption of dogs is part of the culture of area where they filmed, they said, and the dog was to be butchered for a wake.
Because of the controversy, Yapan and the film's producers were suspended from joining the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for a year. Oro was also stripped of the MMFF Fernando Poe Jr Memorial Award.
Section 9 of RA 8485 outlines the penalties to be given when a person is found guilty of animal cruelty: "Any person who subjects any animal to cruelty, maltreatment or neglect shall, upon conviction by final judgment, be punished by imprisonment and/or fine."
PAWS made no mention of the dismissal of section 6, with says: "It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare."
'A sad day for animal welfare'
On their official Facebook page, PAWS said that the dismissal of their complaint was a "sad day for animal welfare."
"Today, we received a copy of the resolution of Pasig City Assistant Prosecutor John Y. Ong dismissing the PAWS complaint versus the Oro movie director and producers Alvin Yapan, Jane Gonzales, Mark Shandi Bacolod and Arriane Dulay for violation of Section 9 of RA 8485.
"PAWS firmly believes that there is probable cause to hold these people criminally criminally liable for violation for the act of making business out of cruelty to an animal and will pursue its legal remedies to reverse the above resolution," the group said.
"The accused have not denied the brutal killing of the poor defenseless dog in this case nor have they denied that they filmed and included the same in their movie.
"This is a clear violation of the Animal Welfare Act and should not be excused by either the Prosecutor's office or society."
PAWS also said that while the news was disappointing, the situation strengthened their resolve to pursue other legal actions against the people behind the movie. They added that they will continue to promote awareness for the humane treatment of animals in the film and entertainment industry.
Rappler has reached out to the filmmakers of Oro.
Oro, an MMFF 2016 entry, was pulled out of theaters earlier than the other festival films due to the said scene. It won Best Ensemble Cast and Best Actress for Adlawan at the MMFF 2016 Gabi ng Parangal. – Rappler.com