“If you committed a crime and you went inside your house, the policeman can pursue you,” Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año told ANC this morning, expressing his support for the policemen involved in Sunday’s controversial scuffle inside Dasmariñas Village, Makati.
The incident was caught on two videos now making the rounds online. It involves two policemen—Police Senior Master Sergeant (PSMS) Roland Von M. Madrona and Bantay Bayan personnel Esteban Gaan of Barangay Dasmariñas—against a Dasmariñas Village resident, Javier Salvador Parra.
One video, taken by the Spanish Parra’s wife, Abegail Salvador, shows Madrona toppled to the ground with Parra, who is resisting arrest. Abegail can be heard in the background screaming and insisting the arrest is illegal because the policemen does not have a warrant. In the other video, this time taken by Gaan, presumably earlier in the fight, the parties involved are seen arguing on the streets. In this version, Madrona is explaining his side to Parra who is throwing a fit and asking them to leave their property.
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The commotion allegedly began when Madrona and Gaan were conducting Oplan Bandillo, a campaign that aims to educate and eliminate violators of policies concerning the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). The two policemen chanced upon one of Parra’s household staff, Cherelyn, watering plants outside the Parra house without a mask. The policemen asked her to get a mask or else they will fine her 1,000 pesos. Parra’s account of the incident states that Cherelyn was inside their property, thus, she was under no obligation to wear a mask.
In the ANC interview this morning, Secretary Año said the video taken by Gaan showed that Parra and his wife were on the streets, and were outside their premises.
While the DILG Chief states that the police are allowed to enter gated communities, their action must still be consistent with the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). They are, for instance, not allowed to enter someone’s house if there is no search warrant, or if the home owner has not committed a crime. If a policeman witnesses someone committing a crime, even if the perpetrator is inside his or her house, the officer may “apply the provisions of the law.”
Of Madrona’s actions, Año said, “He did everything by the book.” According to the secretary, they have already dismissed more than 2000 police officers for various offenses and abuse of authority.
“I won’t allow any policeman to abuse and to use his position to hurt others and even to do illegal things.”
According to Año, the police and the barangay officials, headed by barangay chairwoman Rossana Hwang, will file charges against Parra. The cases may involve verbal assault, unjust vexation, resisting arrest, violation of the local ordinance, among others.
Atty. Michael Camiña, the city spokesman, already released a statement Monday regarding the incident.
He said Makati Mayor Abby Binay had already ordered the Makati City Police Station (CPS) to conduct an immediate inquiry into the incident. “The law must be upheld at all times, most especially during a public health emergency where the welfare and safety of the people are of paramount concern,” Camiña said in the statement. “The city government reiterates its call for all residents to observe set protocols during the quarantine period, including the mandatory use of face masks and the practice of social distancing.”
Statement from the Dasma Village Association
The board members of the Dasmariñas Village Association (DVA) are conducting their own investigation, according to a statement they released last night. They are also requesting the barangay to provide an incident report.
The statement says that while they fully support the government’s efforts surrounding the pandemic, they are also vigilant in protecting the rights of the residents, “to be secure in their houses against unwarranted intrusion by law enforcement officers.”
The board also asks the residents to call the DVA office should any of them experience unjustified acts: “Please do not escalate the situation,” the statement said, “and do your part in reducing the tension.”