Alaminos city vet, 2 others convicted for confiscating chicken meat
07 February 2018
The Sandiganbayan convicted City Veterinarian Ronaldo Abarra, Meat Inspector Joseph Soriano and Security Officer Lyndon Millan, all from the city government of Alaminos, Pangasinan, for their unjustifiable confiscation of 2,455 kilos of chicken meat from private complainant San Vicente Dressing Plant in April 2009.
In a 37-page Decision, the anti-graft court found all the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), sentencing them to imprisonment of six to 10 years and ordering them to pay P226,954.80 plus interest, as civil liability.
Court records show that on 17 April 2009, respondents conspired in ordering the confiscation and seizure of dressed chicken products owned by San Vicente worth P250,000.00. Abarra et al., claimed that the poultry was “hot meat” as it had incomplete documentation and were eventually "given away to the Philippine National Police, Public Order and Safety Office, local government unit and a hospital."
According to the prosecution, “the cargo was well-documented as it passed through the required inspection, sanitation and legal requirements for meat inspection, and that if there were missing details in the certification, they could be verified from the supporting documents presented by the occupants of the delivery van.”
“[T]he court lends more credence to the assertions of the prosecution, as positive testimonies – particularly when corroborated by other witnesses – carry more weight than a mere denial,” the Sandiganbayan ruled. “Even assuming that the meat products had been confiscated only because the Meat Inspection Certificate had missing entries, herein accused did not give the complainant or the San Vicente Dressing Plant, the chance to rectify their deficiencies or to fill out the certificate.”
Under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, public officers and employees are prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. ###