Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez apologized this Monday to the family of a garbage trader who was violently arrested in a clearing operation on Friday.
According to Olivarez, 5 members of Task Force Parañaque involved in the incident have been suspended while the municipality is investigating.
“Gusto ko lang po humingi ng paumanhin sa pamilya ni Warren [Villanueva]. Hindi po talaga ‘yon ang protocol ng ating city at kung sino po ang nagkasala, sasagutin po nila ‘yon,” said Olivarez in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
According to Olivarez, based on the city ordinance against road construction, Villanueva should have been given an official violation receipt.
He also said that the cart should not be forcibly confiscated and that the members of the task force clearly abused him.
“They will be terminated at sila po ay kakasuhan for abuse of authority,” he said.
In the video of the incident, Villanueva can be seen vying with his cart that the task force is trying to seize.
Villanueva was knocked down, pressed on his neck, as well as his legs, handcuffed, and kicked in the face.
Mayor Olivarez reminded local officials that abuse of authority would never be tolerated Parañaque.
Parañaque mayor apologizes to family of vendor who was violently arrested
Olivarez also reminded Parañaque vendors to observe the protocols being enforced, specifically the orders of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regarding road clearing operations.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also went to the scene of the incident on Monday to conduct its own investigation.
In a statement, CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said that force can only be used in operations when there is imminent danger or violence.
The CHR also acknowledged the swift action of the local government.
On their social media accounts, Sen. Nancy Binay and Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson condemned the violent arrest.
According to Binay, there must still be heart and compassion in law enforcement, especially during the pandemic.
For Lacson, while maintaining the “rule of law” is important, there is nothing wrong if mercy prevails over justice.