UP student charged with killing kitten

MANILA, Philippines—A student of the University of the Philippines (UP) has posted bail at a Quezon City court after he was charged with killing a helpless kitten on campus last year, the Inquirer learned Friday.

The student, Joseph Carlo Candare, was indicted under Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Law. Assistant city prosecutor Caroline Tobias ruled there was probable cause to indict Candare, reportedly a student of the National Institute of Physics (NIP).

The case has been raffled to Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 40 under Judge Josephus Joannes Asis, who issued a warrant for the student’s arrest on September 23. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) furnished the Inquirer a copy of the arrest warrant.

A check of the court’s records showed that Candare had posted bail of P4,000 for his temporary liberty last November 9. His arraignment is set for March 21, 2011.

In her resolution, Tobias said there was probable cause that Candare tortured and maltreated the cat, acts punishable under section 6 of the Animal Welfare Act.

PAWS program director Anna Nieves Hasmin-Cabrera lodged the complaint last year after receiving a report on April 15, 2009 that Candare, in his blog, admitted “killing the cat by pulling on its tail, throwing and jumping on the cat’s torso” and that he planned to kill another feline in the coming days.

The killing of the kitten was reportedly witnessed by other UP students, including student Toni Lei Uy, who said in an affidavit that she saw Candare on April 13 last year jumping on a “yellow object” that turned out to be a kitten.

“Despite opportunities, respondent failed to appear and submit his counter affidavit but a manifestation was filed by respondent’s counsel, stating among others, that complainant failed to show the corpus delicti since the body of the supposedly dead cat, or photos of the same, was never presented to prove that it indeed died, much less that it died through acts of respondent,” Tobias said.

But Tobias said corpus delicti, or the body of the crime, could be established not only by presenting the dead cat but also through “competent and reliable evidence.”

PAWS said Candare even submitted a letter of apology to NIP director Dr. Arnel Salvador, in which he apologized for killing the cat. A member of the NIP staff, Jimmy Gabriel, executed an affidavit saying he placed the dead kitten inside a plastic bag and turned it over to the garbage collector.

NIP deputy director for academic affairs Professor Maricor Soriano likewise manifested that there was an internal investigation in which Candare admitted killing the cat.

“What is punishable under RA 8485 is not only the killing of an animal but also torturing or maltreating it. Hence, the corpus delicti in this case is not the act of killing, torturing or maltreatment of an animal,” the assistant city prosecutor said.

She said that Candare’s blog and confession, the affidavits of Uy and Gabriel, as well as Soriano’s manifestation “sufficiently establish corpus delicti.”