Abandoned animals rescued in resort linked to POGO ‘bosses’

July 11, 2024 - 3:16 PM
Abandoned pets_Porac POGO Villa
Abandoned pets found by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society at the Grand Palazzo Royale of Lucky South 99 in Porac Pampanga; Exterior of the Grand Palazzo Royale (pawsphilippines/Facebook)

Caged animals were found abandoned in an exclusive resort at Porac, Pampanga believed to be built for the bosses of Lucky South 99, an illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) hub.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) on Tuesday reported that it has found more abandoned pets less than a month after conducting an “emergency rescue mission” at the Lucky South 99.

The non-profit organization said that the resort, called the Grand Palazzo Royale, contained caged animals “without sufficient means to survive,” adding that they were “far from living in the luxury of their owners.”

PAWS said the resort “became a scene of suffering as the residents fled and once again just heartlessly abandoned their pets.”

“PET ABANDONMENT IS A CRIME,” it said in a Facebook post on July 9.

“PAWS will be working closely with PAOCC to pursue criminal charges. The rescued animals are now crucial evidence in this investigation,” the organization added, referring to the  Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.

The Animal Welfare Act of 1998 prohibits the neglect of animals, including failing to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter.

Republic Act 10631, which amends the Animal Welfare Act, also states the following:

If any person being the owner or having charge or control of any animal shall without reasonable cause or excuse abandon it, whether permanently or not, without providing for the care of that animal, such act shall constitute maltreatment under Section 9.

If the animal is left in circumstances likely to cause the animal any unnecessary suffering, or if this abandonment results in the death of the animal, the person liable shall suffer the maximum penalty.

Abandonment means the relinquishment of all right, title, claim, or possession of the animal with the intention of not reclaiming it or resuming its ownership or possession.

PAWS also appealed for donations to cover the estimated monthly expense of feeding the newly rescued 22 POGO animals, which stands at P230,000.

“They will need to undergo their medical tests and evaluations ASAP as well, so we can get an estimate of their medical expenses from our vet,” the animal org said.

It added that monetary and in-kind donations of dog food “would be a big help and much appreciated.”

Those interested may course their cash donations through these channels:

The raided resort

On July 6, the Pampanga Provincial Police raided Grand Palazzo Royale which reports described as a property where “Pablo Escobar would have been well at home.”

Pablo Escobar was a notorious Colombian drug lord who built his own luxury prison that had a casino, spa, nightclub, football field, jacuzzi pool, waterfall and a giant doll house.

Meanwhile, the raided resort of the POGO “bosses” had a helipad, a man-made lagoon, manicured lawns, game and entertainment centers and rooms that served as a salon, a spa, a KTV bar, among others.

Authorities also found an underground tunnel that connected the villa and a pavilion in the middle of the lagoon.

The tunnel had secret rooms hidden in its walls.

The 2.5-hectare property also had an indoor firing range, which was said to be “actively used” after several slugs were recovered.

Authorities previously raided the Lucky South 99 POGO hub which operated without a license and was described as a “torture hub” and a “scam farm.”

It was also suspected of conducting other illegal activities like kidnapping, illegal detention, and human and sex trafficking.

Abandoned pets were likewise found in the illegal POGO hub which PAWS said had “conditions reflecting prior sicknesses or signs of long-term neglect, beyond the malnourishment from being abandoned for days.”

RELATED: PAWS calls for donation for pets abandoned in raided POGO hub