Saturday, July 12, 2008

City govt's take-over of Tondo slaughterhouse an exercise of excess power and force

The take over of the local government of Manila of the Vitas slaughterhouse in Tondo yesterday was a blatant display of undue government force. The television footage of the forcible and bodily removal of Dealco Farms, Inc. owner Dennis Alcoreza and executive vice president Joyce Alcoreza (his sister) was so violent one would think the Philippines was under Martial Law.

I am not talking about violence in terms of using guns and mortars but the last time I checked, the Philippines was still operating under a system of law which should have been followed in case Vitas had indeed violated some laws.

The local government used to operate the slaughterhouse but former Mayor Lito Atienza transferred the ownership to Dealco in 2001. This is reportedly the largest slaughterhouse in the city and provides services to the cities of Laguna, Metro manila, Batangas, Bulacan and Pampanga.

The city government tried to take over the DEALCO-run slaughterhouse in 2007 because the slaughterhouse reportedly failed to pay its rent and real property taxes worth P25 million.

Anyone watching the video footage which shows how Alcoreza and his sister were bodily carried outside and forcibly detached from their office and chairs, and their employees forcibly taken out would ask why such a violent act is necessary when the city government can just file the necessary legal maneuvers and boot them out. However, knowing that Alcoreza is a political ally of Atienza and the latter a political foe of Mayor Lim explains everything.

A temporary restraining order was granted by the Manila Regional Trial Court to Dealco which prevents the city government from taking over the slaughterhouse. And despite the claims of the city's legal officer that it has yet to receive its share in Dealco's Gross sales and that it has been misdeclaring its earnings, the manhandling of these people at a time when the TRO remains in effect and without a legal order from the court is purely an undue exercise of police power.

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