By Edwin P. Sallan and Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, 
January 11, 2017 · 6:06 pm

Making good on its vow to pursue legal action against the makers of the controversial Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Oro,” the Philippine Animal Welfare Society formally filed a complaint with the Office of the Pasig City Prosecutor on Wednesday.

The case stemmed from a scene in the film where a dog was killed, which PAWS alleged is a violation of Section 6 and 9 of Republic Act 8485 also known as the Animal Welfare Act of 1998.

​Four respondents were named in the complaint: writer-director Alvin Yapan, production manager ​Arianne Dulay, and producers Mark Shandii Bacolod and Jane Bondoc Gonzales.

The complaint-affidavits were signed by PAWS executive director Anna Cabrera, PAWS member Jam Casaul, MMFF marketing committee member Ida Tiongson, and “Oro” cast member Japo Parcero.

Parcero alleged in a recent Facebook post that not just one but two dogs actually died in the making of the film.
PAWS legal counsel Atty. Ronald Martin Ledesma was also present during the filing of the case.
If found guilty, Yapan and his associates could face a penalty of up to two years imprisonment plus a fine not exceeding P100,000.

“It is with great dismay and shock to learn that the Oro filmmakers had resorted to such violence, brutality and cruelty against such a poor, defenseless and innocent animal,” Cabrera said in her affidavit.

“That despite being in a learned and educated society that has even established laws to protect the welfare of all animals, still, said Oro filmmakers had found it necessary and commercially expedient to serve their business of filmmaking to commit such cruel and illegal acts,” she added.

Aside from the lawsuit, Yapan is also facing a possible sanction from the Directors Guild of the Philippines, which has launched an independent investigation  in response to a separate PAWS complaint.

Earlier, 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.

The film itself 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.