Sunday, January 13, 2008

Three Members of the Philippine Shooting Team and the Killing of Protected Philippine Wildlife

When a member of the animal or plant kingdom goes extinct, there will be no second chances. Evolution will simply not repeat itself. There are reportedly eighty bird species that are unique to the Philippines and many of them have already made it to the endangered list. And we, to a great extent, have indiscrimate hunting to thank for it. In spite of two national laws protecting Philippine animals, the carnage continues unabated. The killings could occur as arbitrarily as guys getting together for macho time, or as a result of a well-planned hunting trip involving speed boats, bird callers, and camouflaged outfits. Either way, the outcome is the same. Philippine wildlife, our natural treasures, inches closer to a state of irreparable vacancy.

Not too long ago, we learned about the Bacolod Air Rifle Club (BARC) whose unbridled killing of Philippine birds and ducks became the subject of an online petition calling for immediate government intervention. My post on that most disturbing crime appears HERE. Since early December 2007, the BARC has taken down their website in an attempt to cut their losses and cover their tracks. In a desperate bid to avoid culpability, they put out a statement claiming that they never actually existed. The Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), after it was notified of the killings, surged ahead to take the lead in the investigation. Bird and animal lovers like myself are expecting a just and proper resolution to that crisis.

But bad news can get worse, and alibis become dream-like.

Take the case of the three members of the Philippine shooting team who are now accused of violating the Philippine Animal Welfare Act and Section 27 of the Republic Act 9147. It became very evident that photographs, ones they took themselves, point to the fact that they were involved in hunting protected wildlife. Talk about shooting one's self in the foot! The photographs show Tet Lara, Jade De Guzman and Mike De Guzman enjoying a joyride paid for, in blood and misery, by the very Philippine wildlife that those laws meant to protect. The victims lie dead, hung like fruit, or bundled together like dirty laundry. By the trio's own doing, the photographs made it to the web in albums posted at the site of PhilippineShotgun.com. They rested on their laurels, content, happy, and proud. Surely, no one would make a stink.

But, the people cried out...

It seems that the trio considered themselves too clever that in the end they outwitted themselves. The photographs now form circumstantial evidence of their wrong-doing, like a banner that reads GUILTY. In their defense, the trio banked on our credulity, or should I say inferred stupidity, by assuring us that they had only come upon the dead animals, and had no hand in their killing. This was an incredible Hail Mary pass that they hoped the Filipino people would catch without more than a grunt or a whimper. But Filipino fools, it seems, are as scarce as Philippine ducks. I wish we had somethng more than a fairy tale to consider in their defense, but that is the best they can offer-- bad fiction mixed in with a hallucinogenic expectation that Filipinos will accept their story hands down. No one bought it, and no one is going to be their fool. So, let's move on to the photographs and see what we can glean from them.


Perhaps, there is nothing more crass and inhumane than desecrating the remains of a dying animal. Here is Tet Lara, with open-mouth joy and wagging tongue, willfully taunting a duck whose eye was still open. You can see a black dot right below the eyebrow, not possible if the eye was closed. I assure you that this duck was still alive when this photograph was taken. I know this to be true because I spend a lot of time observing ducks and geese, feeding and photographing them, and I have come to a good understanding of their ways. Here are my latest EXAMPLES . I have witnessed cruelty before, usually stemming from anger or neglect, but to mock and ridicule an animal in its death throes takes inhumanity to its zenith. This young lady, evidently, made sure that her triumphant moment over a helpless and wounded duck was captured for posterity.

I would like to believe that the other members of the Philippine Shooting Team, like the general public, would reject such barbaric acts and to openly condemn and distance themselves from such behaviour. It is not good for Philippine sports to have one, or several, of its members practicing animal cruelty. It is unfair to both past and future generations of Filipino athletes to be tagged with animal cruelty even by association only.

The pride and joy derived from this inhumane act is beyond my understanding. I think we need to reach into the deepest and darkest recesses of the human psyche to find the answer. This moment represents the very height of insensitivity and boorishness. I hate to imagine the suffering this animal, and others like it, went through before death actually brought relief. Tet Lara's egregious disregard for animal welfare should not go unpunished. The Animal Welfare Act states, " SECTION 6: It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, or to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or produce 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. " Sure as sunrise, no assistance was rendered here. Authorities should take a hard look at this case, and take proper action. And those besmirched by the callous actions of a few should speak out.


As previously mentioned, the three members of the Philippine shooting team, namely Tet Lara, Jade De Guzman and Mike De Guzman, proprietors of the telemarketing company Business Beanstalk, published a statement that attempted to exonerate them from all wrong-doing. Clearly, a mea culpa isn't forthcoming. Their story wherein they come out as unwilling and passive participants in a deadly shootout, is at best fantastic. Their serendipitous discovery does not explain why they were photographed in full hunting gear, replete with cartridge pouches, bird callers, camo gear, and firearm. We are expected to believe that their natural reaction to finding a cache of dead animals was to have themselves photographed in proprietary poses, holding them high like medals, and sporting gleeful faces accompanied by mocking shouts at the wasted wildlife. And how is it that some people can accidentally find themselves sharing a small boat with a large number of dead animals? Kinda bizarre behaviour and suspicious circumstances for people who claim to have nothing to do with their demise, don't you think?

These photographs, and others not included in this post, are full of mockery and disrespect for animals that even the most hardcore, hunting enthusiasts will find them disagreeable. The hunter's code of ethics include respecting the prey, avoiding wasteful killing, and shooting only those that you can consume. The guys at my local hunting/camping store, to whom I intend to show the photographs, will surely turn red with disgust. I might be in philosophical disagreement with them when it comes to hunting ( we are friendly nevertheless), but I think that they will share my sense of outrage for the killing of vulnerable/endangered species and the ridiculing of the near-dead. I don't want to employ ad hominems or to be blatantly rude, but I must stress that this is what happens when you place big-bore guns in the hands of small-minded people. State and national laws are violated, quotas exceeded, and animals in their death throes mocked and desecrated.

Let's look carefully at the group photo. The photo is particularly interesting. It shows Jade and Mike De Guzman ( proprietors of the telemarketing company Business Beanstalk ) with a man who could be Ed Mijares ( someone correct me if I am mistaken). Notice that the faces of the three helpers have been blocked out. This is how the photo was when it appeared in an album misleadingly titled " Argentina, " posted at the website of the PhilippineShotgun.com. I have seen this photo before the faces were blocked out, and I can assure you that no Argentine looks like them. The club has since taken down the photo albums, reminiscent of Bacolod Air Rifle Club's attempt at CYA. However, careless thinking gave the hunters away. Notice the writing on the boat. It says, " Bantay Dagat. " Bantay Dagat is a volunteer force of Filipinos concerned about illegal fishing along coastal areas. You can roughly translate the name to Sea Patrol. Bantay Dagat are the good guys because they care about the environment particularly the fisheries. I'd be darn surprised to find Bantay Dagat in Argentina. I don't think they operate that far. At their website, Bantay Dagat deplores the lack of patrol boats to cover vast fishing areas. Their larger vessels are nothing but enlarged outrigger canoes ( not a putdown on them). In other words, they need all the help they can get. Why is it then that one of their patrol boats appear in a hunting party's photograph? Shouldn't this boat be in service protecting the fisheries rather than used as a hunting plaform? This is scandalous and highly inappropriate. The plot thickens, and somebody ought to stop Bantay Dagat boats from being an accessory to a crime.

Here are Jade De Guzman and Mike De Guzman, proud finders of dead ducks, if we were to go along with their claim. I count 6/7 ducks per bundle and that makes 14 between the two. You can imagine how many more of this most precious, if not endangered, species we've lost when you consider that these fourteen ducks could have grown exponentially in numbers, if they were allowed to live. And there must be more lying dead on the boat's floor. The hidden cost, in lost generations, must be astronomical. It's far from being a laughing matter. Some say that denial is part of guilt, that rumor is premature fact. There is, however, a saying more apt for this situation. I've heard it used in court rooms while I was on jury duty, in heated staff meetings, or in many other contentious situations in life. Logic dictates that if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and flys like a duck, then it MUST be a duck. These photographs tell us, and there are more you haven't seen, that the blood of all these wasted animals is on the hands of this unfortunate trio. They must be held accountable for the violations of the Animal Welfare Act and the Republic Act 9147. The defense and preservation of Philippine natural resources should include the prosecution of those who trash and trample upon it.

I am calling on the DENR to do the job they are suppose to do. Warnings are ineffective. Prosecute the violators and preserve Philippine natural resources for future generations.

Please send a mesage to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) and tell them to investigate and prosecute this matter. You can send a message here:

http://www.denr.gov.ph/board/

ADDITIONAL READING:

Here is a TV news report about the killings, in case you have not seen it:

http://www.gmanews.tv/video/16671/Kapuso-Mo-Jessica-Soho-Bird-Hunting

Here is GMA News :

http://www.gmanews.tv/largevideo/latest/16788/3-RP-shooting-team-members-may-be-charged-for-shooting-ducks

Here is the statement from Tet Lara, Jade and Mike DeGuzman:
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2008 01:56:53 -0800 (PST) > From: tet lara >>Subject: Shooting statement> To: kapusomojessicasoho @gmanetwork. com>>>


The pictures in question were taken from a defunct spoof website from last year. It was not meant to be viewed seriously as it clearly stated "there was an expedition with Kumander Robot in Abu Sayyaf Territory", which is obviously fake. These photos are being circulated, not by us, but by some unknown group or groups wanting to blame the decline of bird population on someone. We never stated that we shot the birds - the birds were already dead upon our arrival. Its true that dead birds and people posing with shotguns were in the same picture, and does not look good. Admittedly, this was a poor judgment call. However, to say that the Philippine Team shot down near-endangered birds by merely looking at these photos, is jumping to conclusions. Again, we want to apologize to those offended by the bad-taste photos and the portrayal of the > misconcepcion that its OK to shoot philippine ducks. It is NOT OK. We wish to promote our CLAY SHOOTING sport as an alternative to shooting birds, since it is clearly illegal in the Philippines.

Click on Articles to Enlarge




Here is Juan Mercado's Article:



Here is the DENR's warning:



Atienza warns the hunters:



24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disgusting !!! You guys make me sick !!!

ipatluna said...

It was so right that you began your post with the irreversibility of extinction. Just wanted to add that while the ducks shown, the Philippine Mallard, is not endangered, it is classified as vulnerable - included in the threatened species list. Here is the statement of the Wild Bird Club of the PHlippines:
http://www.birdwatch.ph/html/corp/wbcphunting.html

Anonymous said...

they should be arrested and thrown in jail for killing such innocent creatures. ducks or not they're living and breathing animals like humans are. taking joy in killing them is like treating life as trash. joke or not they should be ashamed of themselves and they even call themselves human.

Anonymous said...

makulong sana kayo mga hunghang kayo

lalo ka na tet lara angas ng mukha mo tuwang tuwa ka pa gago ka 'namo mo

Anonymous said...

There should be capital punishment for such heinous crimes... it does not only apply to human life but also to other living things. They have no right to take away life and even mock it.

parker said...

Hey you,we're not fools to believe that these birds were already dead,di lahat maloloko nyo.
These people should be jailed and slapped with the highest fines
GAWIN SILANG HALIMBAWA PARA WAG NA PAMARISAN.
Sana tutukan ang kaso na ito,di lang pampulitika o ningans kugon kundi bilang Pilipino na nangagalaga sa kalikasan.
Wag paligtasin ang mga taong sangkot sa karumaldumal na pglapastangan sa kalikasan.

Leo said...

Send this people to Jail please
we don't want these things to happen again
or send them to wartorn places like Iraq or Afghanistan para mas may laban sa kanila kaaway nila,and not with these inocent birds
We're not idiots to believe that these birds are already dead
No person in his right mind will pick up a dead bird(MABAHo UN),ahh thay should also be quarantined kung tutuo man sinasabi nila,this people are still alive at this time,BAKA CARRIER SILA NG BIRD FLU!
Paging DOH!!!

Bear Moose said...

give the picture to the NPA they might want to go on war game with them

Anonymous said...

still another bunch of idiots who think that killing animals makes them more respectable human beings. they should be arrested, thrown in jail and raped. or better yet, given a lethal dose of bird flu.

Lingyai said...

I hunt birds - with my camera. It's a beautiful art with real mentality.

However, Gun hunting is just another form of home invasion. Would you want these guys breaking into your home and shooting your family? That's what they do to defenseless wildlife to call themselves "men". In fact they do what they do because they are sexually and mentally inadequate.

Let hunters hunt each other. The Philippines has a population problem and a violent image. Hunters hunting each other helps solve both problems.

Of course, we are talking about a country where cockfighting is the national sport, and the Philippines were colonial zed by the brutal Spanish, who enjoy bullfighting - very bad people indeed.

What would Jesus say about hunting and cockfighting? If we believe in his heart, we know Jesus would be horrified with these animals called hunters and cockfighters.
Jesus will send them to Hell for viciously violating "All God's Creatures".

lingyai45@gmail.com

XXX said...

Nakakasuka talaga itong mga tao na ito. Siguro masyadong frustrated sa kanilang stint sa international competition kaya mga walang kalaban-laban na itik ang pinagbabaril. Mga tarantado talaga! Kayo-kayo na lang ang magbarilan! Itong tet lara na ito mukhang manyakis! ang haba ng dila mo pati itik gusto mo manyakin! Gago kayong lahat! saka minsan mag-jam ung baril nyo at kayo ang tamaan sa noo!

Anonymous said...

Jade and Mike De Guzman will never be punished. They come from a far too rich and powerful family. Shameless idiots! That other chick is a bitch too.

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind but I'll be reposting your blog on mine. What these three people are doing is just so disgusting. And the proud looks on their faces. Ugh!

Thank you for blogging about this. I doubt these three will actually feel sorry about what they've done but having someone disseminate the information about their actions will at least shame them into not repeating something as despicable as this. I hope.

- karen simbulan

Anonymous said...

Asal hayok! Napakahirap isiping mga tao rin kayo. Terrorist and extremist in the making!

Anonymous said...

Jailing these culprits wouldn't gain anything, nor would they learn some lesson about conservation. Id' rather suggest that they be included in the program, by being deputised as game wardens. Living with and learning about your prey, makes you appreciate nature. Best of all, they can find a good way on how to use their weapons responsibly, as game wardens it will make them realize how much it is to put your life on the line day after day.

rene said...

bigyan ng baril ang mga ibon at cla naman ang barilin nang mga ibon tingnan natin kung ano ang mangyayari he he

Anonymous said...

I am also a hunter but not to wild life, but to the enemy here in mindanao. If this three giant idiots people really good in shooting. D2 niyo gamitin yan sumama kayo sa mga operations namin and let's see how good shooter you are in face to face with ABUSAYAFF and MILF rebels. Tingnan ko lang kung maka tawa pa kayo at maka pa picture ng ganyan.

franz said...

I'm also a hunter member but not to wildlife but to lawless elements. If these 3 idiots reaaly good in shooting bring them here in Albarka, Basilan Province and let them joined us in chasing ABUSAYAFF AND MILF. Lets see if they can use thier good eye sight in raining volume of fire and in face to face encounter.

Anonymous said...

Jade, I've know you way-back-when we used to play Ice Hockey. I never thought that you could do something like this. It's not like you. Forgive me, but I don't buy the excuse that you (and the people you're with) were just there posing for pictures with the dead ducks. How do you explain the camouflage outfits? Coincidence? I don't think so...!

markracer0516 said...

grabe naman poe yn hunter dn poe aq im jst 14 yr old ,,laove q dn ang hunting nag lagi naming binabaril mga red collared dove taz ung pagaw,,,once may napa dapo aqng philipine mallard mga arround 14 cla sa isang grupo,,sav q sa sarili q mka kuha lng aq ng isa ok na 3 or more nd q na cla binabaril kaz alam q na indangerd na cla,,,

ang baril q poe ay dreyband and pernworvo and rogunz,,,

pls lng poe tigilan nio na poe cla kaz indangerd na cla

PinoyApache said...

I could catch a lot of Philippine mallards better than you guys. I use native skills and wits and brains which you all don't have. You just rely with your guns and your comfortable distance. You don't prove anything at all with those pictures. I could hunt you with just a survival knife with all your camouflage and guns and all.

Anonymous said...

Please permit me to re-post your blog, I just couldn't sit and do nothing about this cruel and barbaric act... I feel that something must be done to stop this kind of cruelty.

And as for the three shameless bird-brained idiots, we really don't care if you come from a rich and powerful family --- as if, you belong to Manila's sophisticated creme de la creme - which sadly, in my social registry book doesn't even nearly come close to at all. We will all look down on you with disdain and contempt - forever.

PinoyApache said...

Here's another bunch of zombies attacking the animal kingdom:

http://pinoyapache.blogspot.com/2009/05/page-size-8.html

Imee Toribio said...

I do not believe that the ducks were already dead when they arrived, they are so wicked to kill the ducks who are innocent. They should be punished for what they did.

Imee M. Toribio
contributor, www.ourhappyschool.com