Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay – The investigation on the “sea turtle” eggs Facebook controversy has been forwarded to the Department of Environment and Natural Resource-Central Office to determine whether the Facebook account where the photos of the “sea turtle” were posted was hacked or not.
Dionisio Rago, head of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), in an interview said Board Member Mec Rillera-Hadjiula (2nd District) claimed her Facebook account was hacked.
“We have no technical capacity at our level to determine if indeed her Facebook account was hacked or not,” Rago said.
The best thing for his office to do is to forward the investigation to the information technology experts in the DENR-Central Office to determine the veracity or falsity of Rillera-Hadjiula’s claim.
The DENR-Central Office had ordered the investigation hours after Rillera-Hadjiula posted October 24, last year in her Facebook account the photos of sea turtle eggs saying “Amazing turtle eggs so yummy # perstym” and “From turtleisland with love #salamuchdaddylasa.”
In turn, DENR Regional Director Carlito Tuballa, in his letter sent to PENR Officer Dr. Dante Oporto dated October 24, had relayed the order to investigate and take “appropriate action” against the board member who appeared to have in her “possession and cooking of sea turtle eggs which is a violation of RA 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.” The order came hours after a complaint was sent to Malacanang by one Carlo Isidoro.
Rillera-Hadjiula, however, through her legal counsel claimed she had no knowledge of the controversial post saying it was a “black propaganda” against her. She claimed her Facebook account was hacked.
Less than an hour after the post, Rillera-Hadjiula appeared to have deactivated her Facebook account after thousands of netizens bashed her on the internet.
Under the Republic Act 9147, poaching or illegal collection of endangered species, like eggs of a turtle, can be fined from P200,000 but not beyond P1,000,000, and face imprisonment from 1 month to 6 years.
Rago said based on the photos from the Facebook post the eggs belong to Green Sea Turtles, a threatened species.
Poaching or illegal collection of these eggs are still punishable by law but to a lesser degree.
Turtle Islands, a 5th class municipality in the province of Tawi-Tawi, has a population of 4,727 people. It is also known as Philippine Turtle Islands to distinguish it from its Malaysian counterpart. (jm/amm)