MANILA (UPDATE) - Authorities are eyeing a possible administrative case against 5 city task force members who were caught on camera violently accosting a man during a clearing operation last week, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said Monday.
The task force members used "excessive force" in the incident and were suspended from their jobs, said Olivarez. He said the matter will undergo "thorough investigation" and the 5 may also be terminated.
"Hindi lang po termination, kundi magkakaroon po sila ng administrative case na ifa-file ng ating city," he told ANC's Headstart.
(It may result in not just termination, but they will also face an administrative case to be filed by the city.)
There was "abuse of authority" in what transpired with the man in the video, Warren Villanueva, who collects and trades garbage, said Olivarez.
"Makikita natin sa video na hindi tama yung ginawa ng task force kay Warren...Kitang kita 'yung nangyari kay Warren: pinadapa sa kalsada, merong 5 task force members doon, binigyan pa ng posas at meron pang sumibat sa mukha. We will not tolerate this one," he said.
(We can see in the video that what the task force did to Warren was wrong. We can see what happened to Warren: he was made to lie on the ground, there were 5 task force members there, he was given handcuffs, and there was someone who hit his face. We will not tolerate this one.)
Olivarez said Villanueva's cart that he uses for garbage collection has been returned to him and while he is back in Baclaran, "anxiety" remains. He also apologized to Villanueva's family, saying this is not the regular protocol issued by the city.
"Gusto ko lang pong humingi ng paumanhin sa pamilya ni Warren (vendor). Hindi po talaga yun ang protocol ng ating city, at kung sino po ang nagkasala, sasagutin po nila yun," he said.
The task force, established 5 years ago, should have extended "maximum tolerance" in the clearing operation against illegal street vendors, said Olivarez.
Under standard protocol, the task force would issue a warning to the vendors and they must voluntarily remove their belongings on the sidewalks. Otherwise, they will be issued a violation receipt, which will entail a penalty and temporary detention or community service, said Olivarez.
The mayor said while the government understands the need for these vendors to sell on the sidewalks to be able to earn a living especially during the pandemic lockdown, they must also follow the law.
"Naiintindihan ng gobyerno yan, pero we have to follow the rule of law regarding sa ating paglilinis ng mga sidewalk at kalsada," he said.
(The government understands that, but we have to follow the rule of law regarding the clearing of sidewalks and roads.)
He added, he has given direction to law enforcers that especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, government must be more compassionate and understanding of the people.
"Binigyan ko na ng instruction, order yung ating task force, ang ating kapulisan, pati ang barangay na upon implementation of your duties, kailangan tingnan natin ang kapakanan ng tao at hindi tayo pwedeng gumamit ng excessive force at abuse of authority," he said.
(I have given instructions, order to the task force, the police, and even the barangay that upon implementation of your duties, you have to look at the welfare of the people and we must not use excessive force and abuse of authority.)