Tell it to SunStar: The case of the missing manok

Isabel Escoda

IS THERE an Agatha Christie in Cebu, or maybe an Hercule Poirot, who could solve the mystery of the missing chickens? Isn’t it strange that reports say the fowl which disappeared were dressed (meaning dead), as well as undressed (meaning live)? Can one surmise that the poultry were filched by the usual suspects, meaning local officials? What did the Thai officials have to say (if anything) about the loss of their donation? Did they hand them over and not care what became of them so long as some Cebuanos didn’t starve to death? Or are they like the Vietnamese, from whom this country imports rice, who are simply grateful that they get paid? Are the Thais more lackadaisical about where their donations go so long as they are properly thanked by the recipients?

A SunStar report said CP Food Corp. Philippines, which received the initial Thai donation of 20,000 live chickens (meaning fully dressed) distributed them to the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), so did that organization acknowledge receipt to the right authorities? Did the association, which later received another donation from the Thais of 17,000 dressed (meaning dead) chickens also acknowledge receipt thereof to their higher-ups after claiming to have distributed the chickens to 80 barangays in the city? Was anyone in charge of oversight to ensure that the poultry was given out equitably, with no poor citizens jostled aside by privileged relatives of officials and going hungry?

After the magnanimous Thais gave their first donation of live chickens on May 13, they apparently made another gift of 17,000 dressed (meaning dead) ones on May 15 to the City, but why is it that Mayor Labella claims he’d heard nothing about it? Why did he have resort to the cliched “I will have that investigated” when he learned of it?

Didn’t City Councilor Joy Augustus Young start the inquiry back in May about the whereabouts of the chickens because his constituents were asking when they’d finally be able to have their adobo?

Isn’t it obvious that down along the chain of command, some folks have bollixed up the works because of the scuttlebutt which Barangay Councils President & Barangay Captain Franklyn Ong told the SunStar about Milo (Mayor’s Information and Liaison Office) selling the chickens in the open market?

Why did Mr. Ong muddy the waters by speculating on how the barangay captains allocated their chickens (dead or alive) depending on the barangay’s population? Why did he have to upset relatives of jailed Cebuanos by revealing that chicken entrails would be given to the jailbirds?

Can a professional detective untangle the skeins of this puzzle so that Cebuanos can stop lying in bed at nights with visions of feathered and naked chickens dancing over their heads?