LOOK: In Parañaque, curfew violators sit under the sun as punishment

Rambo Talabong

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LOOK: In Parañaque, curfew violators sit under the sun as punishment
The punishment, however, is not sanctioned by Parañaque's own curfew ordinance because it can be classified as illegal detention, even torture

MANILA, Philippines – A barangay in Parañaque has been punishing curfew violators caught during the Luzon lockdown by forcing them to sit under the sun, even if the penalty was not prescribed by the city’s curfew ordinance.

In a Facebook post, the official Facebook page of Barangay San Isidro in Parañaque posted two photos of a cluster of chairs in an open area, one without people and another with a handful sitting while a cop stood watch.

Sa lahat po na mahuhuli namin sa curfew, dito po namin lalagay (Everyone violating the curfew we will placed here),” said the barangay’s Facebook post, which, as of Tuesday morning, March 24, has been shared over 6,000 times, gathering criticism from many users.

“This is torture. If they won’t get heatstroke, they’ll get tons of mosquito bites at night,” said one commenter.

Under Republic Act No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, physical torture is defined as “a form of treatment or punishment inflicted by a person in authority or agent of a person in authority upon another in his/her custody that causes severe pain, exhaustion, disability, or dysfunction of one or more parts of the body.”

It includes “Harmful exposure to the elements such as sunlight and extreme cold.”

Illegal detention: Because it violates the right against illegal detention – the detention of people without due process – the penalty of detaining people outside after violating curfew hours is not sanctioned by the curfew ordinance of the local government of Parañaque.

Under Section 4 of Parañaque’s Ordinance No. 2020-03 signed on March 15, cops and barangay officials have been tasked to enforce the curfew. They were not told to detain people but to to make sure they are “directed to return to their respective residences, dwelling, or usual place of resting.”

Arrests can only be made, the ordinance said, if there is “deliberate or willful refusal to comply with the lawful order of the public officer.”

But even if there were arrests made, they should not be detained outside. Under Rule 113, Section 3, of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedures, arrested persons must be brought “to the nearest police station or jail without unnecessary delay.”

This comes after barangay officials in Sta Cruz, Laguna also drew flak for their implementation of their curfew, after they caged alleged curfew violators. 

Rappler has sought the comment of the barangay through its Facebook page and the police chief of Parañaque City, Colonel Robin King Sarmiento, but neither have replied as of posting. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

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.