2 execs face raps over sale of hogs

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO--Magalang Mayor Maria Lourdes Lacson and Bacolor Mayor Jose Maria Hizon are now the subject of a graft complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) over the sale of 4,038 hogs that were seized from a piggery that was a front for the underground shabu laboratory.

PDEA’s 10-page complaint said that the "pigs were owned by private individuals and not the municipality of Magalang." Hizon, son of a prominent businesswoman who owns a meat processing firm, allegedly bought the said hogs.

It could be recalled that joint operatives from PDEA, Regional Intelligence Division III, Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division III, Pampanga Provincial Police Office, Pampanga PPSC and Magalang Police Station busted an underground shabu laboratory reportedly operated by six Chinese nationals last September.

Police said that about 20 kilograms of ephedrine and 468 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride plus equipment used in concocting shabu were discovered and seized reportedly from the basement of Jay Wong Farm, a warehouse used for milling and storing animal feeds where the manufacturing of the illegal drug is done.

In an October interview with Sun.Star Pampanga, Lacson defended the recent auction of hogs, invoking the need to protect the health and welfare of the public.

This came after criticisms over the sale of the said hogs. The pig farm was a front for the underground laboratory operating beneath the feed mill inside the compound. Lacson said that they have moved to dispose the said hogs after concerns over who will look after the livestock.

She added that some of the said hogs have begun to show signs of sickness as assessed by the veterinarian tasked by the municipal government.

“We have also consulted with our COA [Commission on Audit] and obtained a legal opinion from the DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government] on how to proceed,” Lacson said, adding that they moved to prioritize the health of local residents as they feared of an ammonia build up from the poultry farm since there were no workers to maintain the facility.

She added that they were able to raise some P7 million. She added that they made manifestations that they will abide by the decision of the court on were the proceeds will go. The money is currently under the trust fund of the municipality.
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