Davao police chief relieved from post

Karlos Manlupig

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The police officer loses his post after social networking sites showed him cursing and hitting his wife. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wants him reinstated
RELIEVED. The former Davao police chief, in blue shirt. Photo by Karlos Manlupig/Rappler

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Davao City Police Office chief Vicente Danao Jr has been relieved from his post weeks after a video of him shouting and hitting his wife circulated in social networking sites.

Outgoing Philippine National Police Region 11 spokesperson Chief Inspector Jed Clamor confirmed that Danao was relieved and that his position will be temporarily occupied by DCPO deputy director Manuel Marvin Pepino.

The PNP said Danao is presently facing 4 counts of physical injuries and grave misconduct filed by his wife who has reportedly moved to the United States with their children.  

In video posted by Hudas Ka on Youtube on August 9, Danao was seen shouting and hitting his wife, who shielded herself with blue sneakers. The video clocked a minute and 18 seconds.

Danao earlier explained it is a “private matter” and that it is only normal for husbands and wives to quarrel. He asserted that the incident should only be resolved internally by their family.

He refused to further comment on the incident.

Davao Councilor Leah Librado said that violent acts against women and children are never private matters especially if committed by a person in authority.

“Violence against women is not a private matter; it is a public crime. What is most unfortune is that the right of women to equality before the law and the right to nurture their personhood have been trumpled upon. Moreso, if the violators or perpetrators are supposed to be implementers of the law,” Librado said.

‘Exercise of hypocrisy

However, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the relief order against Danao is an “exercise of hypocrisy” and wants the police officer, his personal choice, to be reinstated as Davao police chief.

“That is an exercise of hypocrisy. Everybody knows that every couple in this planet will always have quarrels,” Duterte said.

Duterte added that couples who can understand each other will live throughout eternity.

May mga taong hindi talaga [magkaintindihan]. Ako kasali ako because I’m separated from my wife. What is the reason? Hindi magkasinabot (There are some people who can never get along. I am one of them because I’m separate from my wife. What is the reason? Not understanding each other),” Duterte said.

The tough-talking mayor criticized the “hierarchy” of the Philippine National Police explaining that he personally chose Danao to help ensure the security in the city.

“Why relieve a person? Sino ang nga general diyan na hindi nag-a-away ng asawa niya? (Why relieve a person? Is there any general there who has not had a fight with his wife?)” Duterte remarked.

“Wala ako ipalit. Ibalik nila si Danao. (I have no one to replace him. Reinstrate Danao.) And let Danao face his case here,” he added.

‘Strong statement against VAW’

But Librado said that Danao’s relief is a “strong statement” in stopping violence against women.

“Suspending or relieving him (Danao) is a strong statement that no one is above the law and an expression of steadfast commitment of the city in upholding the rights and welfare of women. He must be prosecuted of violating the anti-VAWC law. With his admittance, he must be prosecuted,” Librado said.

Librado shared that since 2004, Davao City’s Integrated Gender and Development has recorded 71 cases of violation against women and children involving PNP personnel, 6 cases involving retired PNP personnel, and 134 cases involving uniformed men including the army, navy and government militias.

Under Section 25 of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 defines VAW, violence against women and their children is a public offense “which may be prosecuted upon the filing of a complaint by any citizen having personal knowledge of the circumstances involving the commission of the crime.”

The law defines violence against women and children as an “act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”

It also defines psychological violence as “acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and mental infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.”

The law also created the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Their Children (IAC-VAWC), which is composed of several government agencies including the PNP.

These agencies were also mandated to train personnel to respond to VAWC cases while the PNP was specifically mentioned to establish, in coordination with the local government unit, an education and training program for police officers and barangay officials to “enable them to properly handle cases of violence against women and their children.” – Rappler.com

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