MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Malacañang said on Saturday, May 16, that it wants an investigation into the alleged mauling of a curfew violator – a factory worker – by cops in Cavite.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual briefing on Saturday, May 16, that the cops would be punished if the investigation would warrant it.
“Pa-imbestigahan po natin ‘yan. Tatawagan natin mismo si [Philippine National Police chief Archie] Gamboa at titingnan po natin kung ano ang nangyari diyan. Alam niyo naman po sa ating gobyerno, no one is above the law. Kung talagang may lumabag sa batas, mayroon naman pong imbestigasyon, paglilitis, at pagpaparusa,” Roque said.
(We will have that investigated. We will call PNP chief Archie Gamboa himself. We will see what really happened. In the government, no one is above the law. If somebody violated the law, there will be an investigation, a hearing, and punishment.)
Cavite transitioned to the general community quarantine on Saturday. Curfew is still in place, but workers, particularly in those in the manufacturing sector, are allowed to go out for work at night as long as they have a certification from their employers.
What happened? In a viral Facebook post, “Camps,” the brother of 30-year-old Ronald Campo, narrated how the latter was allegedly mauled by the police for supposedly violating curfew on Tuesday, May 12.
The post showed Ronald’s swollen face and bruised body due to the beating. His right eye turned black, and the wound in his head had 7 stitches.
Camps said that his brother and a few others were allegedly made to do push-ups by the apprehending officer, causing them to pass out. They were then supposedly asked to go to a dark corner after, where the group heard screams.
He said his brother tried to break free, ran away, and was pursued by cops. When the cops returned with his brother, Ronald, who had a bloodied head, passed out.
What’s the police version? In a report by CNN Philippines, the police claimed that Ronald was apprehended for being intoxicated.
According to cops, Ronald tried to run away after arriving at the police station and was chased by certain police corporals Barte and Villostas.
“He (Ronald) jumped over a concrete fence but slips his feet and fell down on the pavement,” said the police report as quoted by CNN Philippines.
Rappler tried to reach the Cavite provincial and General Trias police for comment, but they have yet to respond as of posting.
The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) condemned the incident.
“This abusive behavior by the very people expected to protect us is completely unacceptable,” SENTRO Secretary General Josua Mata said in a statement.
“We call on the PNP leadership to immediately and thoroughly investigate this atrocity, hold those who perpetrated the crime accountable, starting with publicly apologizing to Ronald Campo and covering all his medical expenses and lost wages,” he added.
The United Nations has warned of police brutality and curtailing of rights during coronavirus lockdowns.
In April, the PNP said it will be arresting lockdown violators without warning. Arrest and inquest procedures will be applied to cases as violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
Some 40,000 people have since been arrested. – Rappler.com