Bacolod City

Fil-Am faces charges, deportation for vandalism in Bacolod

Erwin Delilan

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Fil-Am faces charges, deportation for vandalism in Bacolod

ART? Filipino-American Jean Clifford Robinowitz, with his spray paint, and his 'abstract art' on a cemetery wall in Bacolod City.

Bacolod City Police Office

Police apprehend foreigner while spray painting on a public cemetery wall, a violation of a Bacolod City ordinance

BACOLOD, Philippines – A 30-year-old Filipino-American is facing charges, including possible deportation, due to his “troubled abstract art” illustrated on a cemetery wall in Bacolod City, considered by authorities as a form of vandalism.

Bacolod police director, Colonel Noel Aliño, said on Friday, April 26, that the case of Jean Clifford Robinowitz, born and raised in California, United States, was already submitted to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Foreign Liaison Division (FLD) on Thursday, April 25, for proper disposition.

Robinowitz, who is from Cold Springs Drive, Foresthill, California, is currently staying with his Bacoleña mother’s relatives at Rosario Heights Subdivision, Barangay Taculing, Bacolod. 

He was apprehended by members of the Bacolod City Police Mobile Patrol Unit (MPU) while spray painting on the Burgos Public Cemetery wall on April 19, just 15 days after Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez ordered an intensified crackdown on vandals in the city.

Captain Francis Depasucat, head of Bacolod Police Station 4, said Robinowitz claimed what he did was just “art” and “a trip.” 

The police filed a complaint against Robinowitz before the City Prosecutor’s Office in Bacolod on April 20, for violation of a city ordinance on vandalism, malicious mischief, resisting arrest, and disobedience to persons in authority.

Depasucat said Robinowitz was released after posting a P1,000 bail on April 20. 

Aliño said investigators did a background check on the Filipino-American and reported his case to the US embassy in Manila on April 24.

Robinowitz, according to Aliño, also was in “trouble” in the US, which was why his mother sent him to their relatives in Bacolod on March 1. 

Quoting his relatives, police said Robinowitz was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and his body showed bullet wounds.

Aliño stressed, however, that neither PTSD nor abstract art can be an excuse for violating the city’s anti-vandalism ordinance, and that they would hold Robinowitz accountable.

“That’s why we forwarded Robinowitz’s case to PNP-FLD in Camp Crame for proper disposition. But our legal team at the Bacolod City Police Office is now conducting a thorough review to determine if the complaint filed against him also merits his immediate deportation,” Aliño said.

In early April, Benitez’s spokesperson, Caesar Distrito, announced that the city government would strictly implement the anti-vandalism ordinance.

Distrito said, “We will take active measures against the widespread proliferation of vandalism in Bacolod.”

Distrito said the local government would designate “expression or freedom walls” in different vacant lots within the city proper where those who see vandalism as art could express themselves without limits.

As a kickoff, an anti-vandalism task force was created, composed of 61 village chiefs, the police, the Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Public Order and Safety Office (POSO), Bacolod Traffic Authority Office (BTAO), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Aliño said they would give a P5,000 reward for those who can report those committing vandalism. –

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