Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año defended the actions of a police officer who continued to perform his duty despite being harassed and berated by a foreigner residing in Dasmariñas Village, Makati City.
Año explained that there was a reasonable cause for the policeman, Senior M/Sgt. Roland Madrona, to arrest the foreigner identified as Javier Parra who was drunk, topless, and uttered foul words at him during the incident.
“Suportado natin yan, the police did the right thing [We support the act of the police officer. He did the right thing],” Año said in a phone interview with Philippine News Agency.
In a viral video, Parra was allegedly physically assaulted and nearly arrested in his residence.
However, another video captured before the altercation showed that he was drunk and was cursing at Madrona.
In a report, the Makati police said that on Sunday afternoon, April 26, 2020, Madrona along with village watchman Esteban Gaan of Barangay Dasmariñas conducted patrol inside the Dasmariñas Village upon the request of chairwoman Rosana Hwang.
During the incident, Madrona just warned Parra’s maid Cherilyn Escalate of a possible fine for not wearing a mask, which is a violation of enhanced community quarantine guidelines.
Año explained that after Parra’s wife, Abegail Salvador, said that he had an ailment on the back, police immediately stopped the arrest and just resorted to blotter, Año explained.
Año also said that even in a private subdivision, roads within its area, as well as other common areas, shared with other households are considered public areas.
“If you go out in the streets, even in a private subdivision, that is a public area. It serves the public,” Año said.
Año said the police were compelled to release another video on what happened before the alleged assault to show the reasons for the policeman to arrest Parra.
“Nilabas nila sa media pagkatapos pinalabas na masama ang pulis eh di syempre ilabas na natin ang katotohanan ayoko namang mapapasama ang mga pulis natin (They released a video to the media and they made it appear that the policeman did something bad. Of course, I want the truth to come out and I don’t want to see our police officer portrayed in a bad light),” Año said.
While noting that he has already dismissed police officers as the chairman of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) due to complaints of abuse, illegal activities, and violations of laws, Año said he is ready to defend cops who are properly fulfilling their duties.
“I will make sure that charges (will be) filed against that irresponsible person,” Año said.
He said possible charges that can be filed against Parra are unjust vexation violation of Article 151 of Revised Penal Code (RPC) or resisting arrest and civil disobedience based on the local ordinance.
“Kasama sa magpa-file si barangay chairman at witness. Dun maraming statement, walang galang sa pulis, wala talagang ginawang violation ang pulis (Among those who will file charges is the barangay chairman and the witness. There are a lot of statements. He disrespected the policeman. The policeman did not commit any violation),” Año said.
The Makati City Police are set to file charges against Parra for alleged violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code (Disobedience to a Lawful Person in Authority), Republic Act 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act), and City Ordinance 2000-089, for not wearing a face mask.
Año said they are already coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration to check the status of Parra.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield) commander, assured that police operations are strictly guided by the revised police operational procedures which every cop must observe when making arrests.
“On our part, we are always accountable for our actions as public servants. We are living in an extraordinary time under the threat of a global pandemic, so we ask the public to bear with your PNP, your government as stricter rules are being implemented to ensure your safety, our safety,” Eleazar said in a statement sent to reporters.
He said PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa has ordered a probe and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will look into this incident as they assure the public of an impartial result of the investigation in the soonest possible time.
“We understand that this is the first time that most of us are experiencing this kind of security situation so we urge the public to keep in mind a simple formula to avoid unnecessary incidents like this: 1) Obey ECQ Rules and 2) Respect the people enforcing them,” said Eleazar.
NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas said that as police officers, they are enforcing quarantine laws for the safety and protection of everyone, and Madrona exercised maximum tolerance in handling the incident despite Parra’s arrogance.
Año said the NCRPO will continuously enforce the law without fear or favor for everyone. (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan, PNA)