PAWS saddened by dismissal of animal cruelty case against ‘Oro’

April 8, 2017 - 11:36 AM
Philippine Animal Welfare Society executive director Anna Cabrera and 'Oro' director Alvin Yapan. (Photos by Yummie Dingding/InterAksyon)

A Pasig City court has dismissed the complaint filed by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society for animal cruelty against the movie directors and producers of the film, “Oro.”

In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Friday, the animal welfare group said it received a copy of the Resolution of Pasig City Assistant Prosecutor John Y. Ong dismissing the PAWS complaint versus “Oro” movie director and producers Alvin Yapan, Jane Gonzales, Mark Shandii Bacolod and Arriane Dulay for violation of Section 9 of RA 8485.

Anna Cabrera, PAWS executive director, said the group, while saddened by the decision, will continue the legal battle by seeking reconsideration from the court.

“It is a sad day for animal welfare,” the group said in a statement.

“While this news initially was disappointing to our team of volunteers seeking justice for the dogs who were killed in the making of the Oro movie, this development has strengthened PAWS’ resolve to pursue all other available legal actions against the filmmakers,” it added.

“PAWS firmly believes that there is probable cause to hold these people 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,” it added.

Cabrera said that despite the setback, PAWS will continue to lobby for and raise awareness about the humane treatment of animals used in film production and in the media and entertainment industry.

“Animals deserve to be treated with kindness and respect,” she said.

“Oro,” an entry to the December 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), raised a howl from the public, especially animal welfare advocates, because of a dog slaughter scene.

The MMFF stripped the film of the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award it won during the festival’s awards night. The MMFF executive committee also issued a one-year ban on Yapan, Bacolod and producer Feliz Guerrero of Feliz Film Productions from joining the annual film festival.

Based on a separate complaint by PAWS, the Directors Guild of the Philippines also launched its own independent investigation on the matter.

At the height of the controversy, “Oro” was pulled out of cinemas last January 4 after Yapan failed to edit out the dog slaughter scene as he had promised during a January 2 meeting with the MMFF Execom at the office of MMFF and Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Thomas Orbos.

The film had special screenings at the UP Film Center last February 27, at the Cervini Field of the Ateneo de Manila University last March 29, and most recently at the SDA Cinema of the De La Salle College of St. Benilde last April 1.

No statement has been issued by the makers of “Oro” as of posting time.