ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - A local official in Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay is under investigation after she posted in her Facebook account photos of turtle eggs, which she said were given to her by her “lasa” (love) who came from the Turtle Islands, in Tawi-tawi, Southern Philippines.
Maria Esperanza Corazon Rillera, a board member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and former Mayor of Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay, captioned her now-deleted post "so yummy," with photos showing #turtleeggs being cooked.
Rillera appeared to have deactivated her Facebook account, but screenshots of her posts have been posted in different accounts, particularly of environmentalists and cause-oriented organizations.
ABS-CBN News has also tried to call her mobile phone, but has yet to respond.
Michael dela Cruz, officer in charge of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO) said they received an order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) central office to collect information on the matter on Wednesday, following comments on the local official’s Facebook post.
Dela Cruz said his staff has been trying to get in touch with the local official to shed light on her social media post and mainly to explain how she got the eggs.
He added that a complaint by a private individual was also submitted to Malacañang and DENR in Manila.
A memorandum has already been sent to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Kabasalan Municipality to initiate the probe.
Under the Republic Act 9147 or the Act Providing for the Conservation and Protection and Protection of Wildlife Resources and their Habitats, 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.