MANILA, Philippines – Lino Cayetano, the mayor of Taguig City himself, ordered cops to go to the posh Pacific Plaza Towers (PPT) to enforce lockdown rules, police confirmed to Rappler on Monday, April 20.
“Attorney Flores called, he said mayor was asking us to check,” Taguig police chief Colonel Celso Rodriguez said in a phone interview, referring to Cayetano’s chief-of-staff, Noli Flores.
Flores called at around lunchtime on Sunday, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez added that Cayetano gave the order after his office received reports of residents in the condominium complex gathered in its shared spaces while violating physical distancing rules and without wearing face masks.
The top cop said it was the first time Cayetano asked them to check up on a condominium complex, but he explained that it was because PPT seemed the only building that had broken quarantine rules.
At around 4:30 pm on Sunday, 4 cops stormed PPT with firearms but without warrants, allegedly threatened security men of arrest unless they were allowed in. The cops then went to PPT’s pool area to shout at residents to go back to their units.
Residents slammed the police and the PPT management, with the board contemplating on filing charges against police for what they described as “extremely upsetting, clearly inappropriate, and possibly illegal” act.
Rodriguez argued that they were only doing their job of enforcing guidelines from the national government to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease. However, the guidelines issued by the national government's Inter-Agency Task Force against the coronavirus do not include the closure of pools and shared spaces in private properties like PPT.
As of Monday, cops have arrested over 30,000 lockdown and curfew violators across the country. – Rappler.com
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.