There are over half a million stray animals in the Philippines, and this is the story of just one of them. Tengteng was a month-old stray kitten who lived precariously on the grounds of the University of the Philippines at Diliman. Those who knew her spoke of a kitten who benefited from random acts of kindness including handouts of food, water, even a new collar to make herself look pretty. She enjoyed fleeting but happy moments with students who gave her a scratch or two, a tummy rub, and pats on her head. The only known photographs of Tengteng are the ones you see on this site. One can say that Tengteng was not as hard up as other strays in the Philippines, but she was without a regular source of food, a home and a family to protect her.
Tengteng, like all animals, was God's child. But her life came to an abrupt end when on April 13th a second year physics student named Joseph Carlo Candare took her life and bragged about it on the web. On his blog entry for that day, Mr. Candare mockingly called Tengteng's death " an accidental Crime." However, by other accounts, Tengteng's killing was a deliberate and blood-thirsty attack fueled by Mr. Candare's visceral and sadistic hatred of cats.
How much hate, you might ask?
Mr. Candare was described as taking a running start, leaping into the air, and then landing on Tengteng with the full force of his weight and momentum. Tengteng, who could not have weighed more than two pounds, was crushed under the grown man's weight. This was a conscious act, and Mr. Candare had ample opportunities to change his mind. Whatever life was left in Tengteng's body, the last few ounces of strength she had, enabled her to seek shelter in a hovel where she ultimately died moments later, alone. The imagery is horrifying, but we have been spared the deathly sounds that must have been blood-curdling. The agonizing scream of a kitten, the crushing of her bones, the taunting of the victor over the vanquished, it was a triumphant moment for one but unnecessarily tragic for another.
Why should we care?
Some have argued that we care too much about a kitten who did not belong to anyone. Some said that there are many strays; why care about this one? All animals deserve respect. When we disrespect an animal, that says more about us than the animal. It is not how many animals are abused, but it is the knowledge that a most heinous crime was committed on a defenseless and sentient being that behooves us to act. Such acts, however singular, offends our sense of decency and righteousness. If there is one abused animal, then that is one too many. When we are confronted by cruelty, we must address it. Acts of abject cruelty towards animals, like Tengteng's killing, are simply unacceptable. It is up to the enlightened and the compassionate to stand up and speak in behalf of those on the receiving end of humankind's brute force.
Why take my word for it?
You do not have to. I am reproducing Mr. Candare's blog entry for your perusal. Here, you can read his own words, his self-confession as a serial killer of cats, his disingenuous pang of conscience, and his not-so-veiled threat to kill more in a month ( English translation in brackets) :
"An Accidental Crime. First day sa supercon. Lunch time came. On our way out of old NIP I saw the cat I almost killed last Tuesday. Now everyone knows I hate cats. It's an unexplainable feeling towards them. Like some internal hatred. Hindi ko talaga alam kung bakit pero anumang pagpipigil sa sarili ay hindi sapat upang mapangibabawan ang panggigil ko sa mga pusa. [ I don't really know why my self-control is not enough to overcome my hatred of cats ] I pulled it on its tail and threw it. Then like some pro wrestler I jumped on it and my feet landed on it's torso. Slam! Felt good! But the cat didn't die, well not yet. It ran for its life and just as I was about to catch up on it somebody yelled: " Pwede bang pabayaan mo yung pusa?!" [ Can you leave the cat alone? ]. It was instant and involuntary. I stopped on my tracks. Nobody ever stopped me when assaulting cats. Well I guess there's always a first time for everything. The cat got away. Or at least that's what i thought. So we went to lunch Mel, Jayson, Tracy and me. After lunch, balik na sa kung anumang naiwang gawain [ we went back to whatever unfinished work we had ]. Then Tracy and Mel told me " Hui Jc napatay mo yung pusa" [ Hey, JC, you killed that cat ]. Hours later, habang abala sa XRD [ while busy at XRD ], a guy came in. Tanong niya: " Sinong pumatay dun sa pusa?" [ He asked, who killed that cat? ] Bang! Dat was me boi. Guilty as charged. I didn't see it die pero sabi ni Myles [ but Myles said ] it coughed up blood or at least something like that daw. Didn't realize I gave it a fatal hit. This isn't the first time I've killed a cat but this time it's different. It didn't occur to me back then that the cat had a leash. So I think somebody owns it. Well it's very well loved in NIP from what I heard and I just ended it's life. So there you go I'm sorry. And I wont be striking another one for maybe about a month. It feels good when your beating it(a cat) up but you suddenly feel something strange when it turns off permanently. That's how I feel right now. And maybe for the next days. Dang, am I a cat serial killer? "
To Whom Should We Appeal?
We are appealing to the high officials of the University of the Philippines at Diliman (U.P.) namely Dr. Sergio Cao, Chancellor of UP, Dr. Arnel Salvador, Director of the National Institute of Physics at UP, and to Dr. Caesar Saloma, Dean of the College of Science UP.
These gentlemen, in their respective capacities, have the authority to set things right at the university. They can condemn, reject, and punish those who practice animal cruelty within the ranks of the university. They are gatekeepers to the long and illustrious history of the university. The conduct and safety of the student body are under their purview. We, therefore, are calling upon these gentlemen to apply the only just and appropriate punishment for Mr. Candare which is immediate expulsion from the university and to assist in seeking proper medical attention for Mr. Candare.
I am asking for one thousand signatures. If you agree with the spirit of this petition, please sign it and offer your opinion for the benefit of these learned gentlemen. I will post updates when new developments occur. I thank you for helping engender a more compassionate Filipino society.
Addenda: There were questions about criminal charges. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is in the process of gathering affidavits from eye-witnesses. Yes, Mr. Candare violated the provisions of the Philippine Animal Welfare Act, Republic Act 8485. PAWS' volunteer lawyer will be mapping our their legal case against Mr. Candare.
05/02/09 I had Mr. Candare's name as John C. Candare in the initial post because he presented himself as such on another blog, but someone corrected me. His real name is Joseph Carlo Candare.
05/02/09 You may express your outrage but please no personal threats against Mr. Candare. I have to submit this petition to UP officials, and I want it fair and clean. Substantive comments will greatly help the impact of this petition. Thanks.
05/04/09 Here's a link to a blog that has a screen shot of Mr. Candare's original website which has been taken down since the uproar began:
Dear future and past signers, I have already begun the process of sending the entire petition, including all the signatures and comments, to the officials of the University of the Philippines. I have asked for 1,000 signatures and there are now 1,700 and growing. I will keep this petition open until an official statement from the university arrives. The good people of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) continue to talk to the officials and they will be receiving their official decision. You will be informed. I appreciate the outpouring of support and compassion.
Criminal charges are still planned regardless of the university's decision.
05/12/09 PLEASE READ. U.P. OFFICIALS COP OUT.
It is nearly a month after Tengteng's killing and my sources at the university informed me that Mr. Candare still walks the grounds like an untouchable demi-god. Mr. Candare continous to thumb his nose at fellow students, the petition signers, and animal welfare advocates. I am sorry to inform you that the university officials named in this petition have been unmoved by Tengteng's killing and they have refused to provide an open and public statement about Mr. Candare's status in school.
In a television interview last week, Dr. Maricor Soriano's only comment was that they tried to keep Mr. Candare at the university when he expressed a desire to leave it voluntarily. This is not the appropriate course of action. By keeping Mr. Candare at the university, the officials continue to make a government scholar out of a self-confessed serial cat killer.
Why should Filipino taxpayers continue to pay for Mr. Candare's schooling? Why should a self-confessed, serial animal abuser like Candare have the benefit of a free education when other Filipino students have to scrounge around for every peso to stay in school? There must be a more deserving student who can take Candare's place.
It has become obvious that Dr. Sergio Cao, Dr. Arnel Salvador, Dr. Caesar Saloma, and Dr. Maricor Soriano are providing a protective embrace for Mr. Candare rather than a critical review of his actions. They are content on burying their heads in the sand and waiting till the storm blows over. This is very disappointing and an indication of failed leadership and a lack of moral courage on their part. Please join me in continuing the fight for justice for Tengteng, and to spread the word about Sergio Cao, Arnel Salvador, Caesar Saloma, and Maricor Soriano's condoning animal cruelty through their silence and non-action.
This is mind-boggling irresponsibility. Completely unacceptable behaviour from university officials. No sanction. No psychiatric help. No nothing. Please sign the petition and send them a piece of your mind directly through their email addresses:
UPDATE: June 3, 2009 You will find below the artwork of a digital artist named Janette Ramos of the Philippines ( http://deftlyheartless.deviantart.com/ ). Her rendition of an angelic Tengteng, in peace and in harmony with her surroundings, soothes our pain and panders to our best wishes for her in the afterlife. Thank you, Janette.
UPDATE: June 25, 2009. I was informed by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) that criminal charges were filed by them against Mr. Candare on June 19, 2009. Mr. Candare is charged with violating the Philippine Animal Welfare Act. This case is now known as Case No. F-05490 at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office. According to PAWS' volunteer lawyer, Atty. Kayaban, it may take 2-3 weeks for the prosecutor's office to peg a date for inquest. There were several witnesses to Tengteng's killing but only one had the moral courage to step up and file an official affidavit. Her statement is now part of the prosecution's case. Estimated time to fully prosecute this case is two years. NEVERTHELESS, THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!!!
UPDATE: July 14, 2009 The Office of the Prosecutor of Quezon City will be issuing a subpoena for Mr. Candare to appear on July 23rd at the Hall of Justice.
UPDATE: July 29 2009 Mr. Candare failed to appear in court on the 23rd and a second subpoena was issued for Mr. Candare to appear in court in August. A copy of the subpoena was personally delivered by a member of PAWS to the office of Maricor Soriano, Deputy Director Academic Affairs of UP to insure that Mr. Candare gets the word. Mr. Candare is still enrolled as a student at UP, and the university is cited as his local address.
UPDATE : November 24, 2009 After all these months, the Tribunal of the University of the Philippines has handed down its decision on the Candare case. It is a great disappoinment, but not a complete surprise. From the very beginning, UP officials have offered a protective embrace for Candare as if their duty to their student is greater than to their conscience. They have excused Candare's killing of Tengteng as not necessarily a misconduct inspite of its savagery. It's legal mumbo-jumbo, in my opinion. UP might be able to toy around with the Candare case but they have no influence over the legal charges filed against him by PAWS. Below is the official release from PAWS:
UP TRIBUNAL DECISION: STOMPING A KITTEN TO DEATH IN UP IS NOT " MISCONDUCT "
To the great disappointment and shock of animal welfare advocates, the UP Student Disciplinary Tribunal in its two-page decision dated November 5, 2009 dismissed the case filed against Joseph Carlo Candare, a BS Physics major of the UP College of Science for allegedly deliberately stomping a kitten to death last April 13, 2009.
Candare earned the ire of many animal lovers, and consequently, many animal rights groups for bragging about the incident on his personal log on the world wide web (web log or %u201Cblog%u201D).
Excerpts from the infamous blog are as follows: %u201CI pulled it on its tail and threw it. Then like some pro wrestler I jumped on it and my feet landed on it's torso. Slam! Felt good!%u201D
%u201CThis isn't the first time I've killed a cat but this time it's different. It didn't occur to me back then that the cat had a leash. So I think somebody owns it. Well it's very well loved in NIP from what I heard and I just ended it's life. So there you go I'm sorry. And I wont be striking another one for maybe about a month.%u201D
Questions about Candare%u2019s state of mind cropped up when blog-readers came across these statements from the 19-year old student: %u201CIt feels good when your beating it(a cat) up but you suddenly feel something strange when it turns off permanently. That's how I feel right now. And maybe for the next days. Dang, am I a cat serial killer?%u201D
%u201CIt is worrisome when a university declares that there is %u201Cno misconduct%u201D in killing a helpless kitten in plain view of fellow students right within the school premises,%u201D said Nancy Cu-unjieng, President of Compassion and Responsibility for Animals or CARA, the animal welfare organization that filed the instant complaint before the UP Tribunal.
Anna Cabrera, Program Director of The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), agreed that the dismissal was %u201Ca dangerous precedent for a university to make%u201D.
In a statement to the press, PAWS said: %u201CThe violence and deliberateness of the act which should have evoked outrage from school officials and a call for immediate disciplinary action was instead met with a shrug of the shoulders and a pronouncement that %u2018killing animals %u2013 though it is a national crime %u2013 is, as %u2018not even classified as an actionable misconduct under the university%u2019s Rules.%u2019%u201D
%u201CWhat message is the Tribunal sending out? Basically, it is implied that students can openly hurt animals and not face any consequences for their actions. We think that it is deplorable and shameful for an institution not to strongly condemn acts of animal cruelty,%u201D commented Cabrera.
The three-member UP Tribunal composed of Ma. Crisanta Flores, Ma. Theresa Payongayong and Chairman Jonathan P. Sale stated in its Resolution that: While %u201Cit is true that Section 1 of the (Rules and Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline) RRSCD states that, as the basis of discipline, %u2018 a student shall at all times observe the laws of the land..%u2019 and that part of the law of the land is Republic Act No. 8485 (the Animal Welfare Act), Section 6 of which makes it unlawful for anyone to torture or maltreat animals; and that Mr. Candare did to the kitten clearly constitutes maltreatment , if not outright torture... not all violations of laws are actionable misconducts.%u201D
%u201CCandare%u2019s actions %u2013 deplorable though they may seem to some, if not most, people, do not constitute any misconduct actionable under University rules.%u201D
%u201CConsequently, it is thus respectfully recommended that the Tribunal DISMISS the instant complaint%u201D
Violation of the Animal Welfare Act is considered a criminal act punishable with six months up to two years imprisonment or a fine ranging from P1000 to P5000.
While recorded prosecutions under this special law have been few since its approval in 1998, PAWS, who spearheaded the lobbying of the said law, is slowly making headway by helping an increasing number of ordinary citizens file cases against animal offenders in Court.
PAWS filed a criminal case against Candare before the QC Hall of Justice where the case is for resolution at the QC Prosecutor%u2019s Office.
UPDATE: August 5, 2010 The criminal case against Candare is still ongoing. The wheels of justice in the Philippines turn very slowly. PAWS has not, and will not, give up the ghost. PAWS has not dropped the charges against Mr. Candare.
UPDATE: October 11, 2010 Finally, there is movement in Candare's animal cruelty case known as Criminal Case 10-00859, pending before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 40. Mr. Candare has failed to respond to summonses, and there is now a warrant for his arrest. In other words, he is a Wanted man.
Dr. Sergio Cao Chancellor University of the Philippines, Diliman
Dr. Arnel Salvador Director National Institute of Physics University of the Philippines, Diliman
Dr. Caesar Saloma Dean Department of Science University of the Philippines, Diliman
Greetings . Here are one thousand signatures in support of a swift and appropriate sanction of Mr. John Conrad Candare, a student at your institution and the perpetrator of an act of animal cruelty committed on university grounds, resulting in the death of a month-old kitten. The signatories come from the Philippines, the United States and other countries. Many of the signatories have a personal connection to U.P.
We, unequivocally, urge you to expel Mr. Candare from the institution or deny him readmission in the coming school year. We also believe that Mr. Candare can benefit from medical help and that UP should assist in providing that help. We find that expulsion is a just and appropriate punishment for Mr. Candare, and medical help is imperative. We declare that animal welfare is a legitimate concern for a civilized society, and all efforts to further this cause should be respected and supported.
With much respect,
Ted Teodoro New Jersey, USA In behalf of all the Signatories
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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