Ex-mayor in 'turtle eggs' controversy says Facebook account hacked

Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2018 12:46 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2018 05:00 PM

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Former Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay Mayor Maria Esperanza Corazon “Mec” Rillera's camp has claimed that her critics likely hacked her Facebook account, and uploaded the controversial "turtle eggs" photos.

Rillera, a board member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, is in hot water after posts in her Facebook account showed cooked turtle eggs.

Rillera's counsel Richard Rambuyong told ABS-CBN News that his client has no personal knowledge on posts in her alleged Facebook account.

“When I return, I will probably refer to PNP’s Cybercrime group for possible investigation of possible hacking, illegal or unauthorized use of her Facebook account,” he said. Rambuyong is in Manila and is set to go back to Titay early next week.

Rambuyong said that his client believes the incident is a form of black propaganda since Rillera is running for reelection.

“It is most likely that it is election related because the campaign period is already fast approaching, and the candidates have already filed their COC,” he said.

Dionisio Rago, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) for Zamboanga Sibugay’s second district said a team has been formed to probe Rillera’s post for an apparent violation of the Wild Life Act. Due process will be observed in the proceedings, he added.

“Maghulat na lang mi balik sa iyaha, para iyahang matubag,” he said. (We will wait for her to answer personally).

Rago’s team on Wednesday failed to get in touch with the local official and was told that she was traveling and could not be contacted over the phone.

The investigation, he said, would dwell mainly on how the local official acquired turtle eggs, as was insinuated in her alleged Facebook account.

Illegal collection, which categorically falls under poaching for protected and endangered species such as turtles are considered a violation under the Wild Life Act. Violators could be fined for up to P1 million and imprisoned for up to 6 years.

The investigation was ordered by DENR central office through the Aksyon Kalikasan Center, a day after Rillera’s supposed post went viral, following a complaint by a private individual.