A car wash owner and his two employees will file charges against some members of the city government’s Anti-Crime Task Force (ACTF).
This is after some members of the ACTF were captured by a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera hitting one of his employees around 2:00 a.m. Friday, February 22, inside a car wash in Barangay Maligaya near the New CBPP Palawan Enterprises along Rizal Avenue.
The car wash owner who declined to be named for now said he will sue the still unnamed ACTF operatives to defend the human rights of his employees.
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“Nag-decide na ako sa sarili ko na itutuloy ko ‘yong demanda, para sa mga tao ko rin, kasi na-agrabiyado rin sila. Hindi porke’t may maliit ka na kapangyarihan ay kailangan mong abusuhin. Nakita ko kasi ‘yong move nila (ACTF) na nag-over react sila sa mga sitwasyon. Dapat bilang isang [nasa awtoridad] ang iyong pasensya habaan mo lang. Tutal wala namang ginawang krimen ‘yong mga bata na sinabing nambato o nanira o ano pa man. Sadyang nagmura lang kung totoo ‘yong sinasabi nila na nagmura, ekspresyon lang din naman siguro ‘yon at hindi naman ‘yon makakasakit ng pisikal sa isang kagaya nilang awtoridad,” said the owner on Saturday who refused to be named.
The car wash owner said he is still consulting his lawyer regarding the cases they will file against the ACTF members.
The ACTF is an anti-crime body organized by the city government to support the Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) to maintain orderliness and combat crime.
“Ang kuwento ng mga bata sa akin, ‘yong time na kinuha sila doon sa shop, pag-labas ng isa [sa sasakyan] sinuntok agad siya sa mukha at paglabas ng ganoon, tinadyakan, tapos ‘yong isa tinadyakan din siya at sinuntok sa tiyan, sa tagiliran tapos sinuntok ulit sa mukha. Tapos noong isinakay sila sa mobile, ‘yong isang tao ko doon na nakatayo lang ‘yon doon naman nila pinagsu-suntok sa tiyan. Naka-mediko legal naman din. Pinag-iisipan ko pa ang mga posible kong ikakaso sa kanila at ng mga bata,” he added.
According to the owner, his two employees decided to buy cigarettes from a nearby store using his motorcycle when another motorcycle entered their lane in a blind spot and cut them off the road.
It was his employees who told him the whole story, allegedly admitting they had a bit of drink to be able to relax from the day’s work.
He said the liquor that was consumed by his employees and two others was not that much.
“Base sa kuwento ng mga tao ko doon sa shop, nag-motor sila, actually nag-inom sila doon sa shop. Kumbaga pampatulog nila ‘yan kasi sa daily routine nila minsan napapagod, para makatulog sila. Dalawa lang sila. Bale ‘yong kaibigan nila doon [din], ‘yong nagpapa-washing na dalawang may-ari ng van. Apat lang sila doon, hindi naman marami ‘yong ininom nila, parang isang bote lang ng gin ata ‘yong ininom nila,” he said.
“[Ang mga employee ko] ‘yong driver naka-helmet, ‘yong angkas [niya] walang helmet. Noong pauwi na sila binabagtas nila ‘yong Rizal Avenue, base ito sa kuwento nila sa akin, inovertake-an daw sila ng motor na mabilis, tapos na-cut sila, tapos noong time na ‘yon sinigawan ng naka-angkas kasi ganoon ang nangyari. Ay tamang-tamang parating ‘yong mobile ng Anti-Crime [Task Force], doon sila nagpanalubong sa kanto ng Burgos Street. Siguro nag-assume sila na sila ‘yong sinisigawan, so nag-react siguro,” the owner added.
The car wash owner said his two employees, one 23-year-old and the other, 24, went directly to their shop after the incident “without any interaction with the ACTF members”.
It was around 15 or 20 minutes, he said, when the ACTF group went to their shop, entered their premises, and attacked the employees.
“Tinanong ko rin ‘yong mga bata, wala naman daw silang ginawa na kung anong bagay. So noong patulog na ‘yong tao kong isa, sapilitan nilang pinalabas ng kuwarto. Bale dalawa na lang sila kasi ‘yong kaibigan nila, umalis na ‘yon. Makikita doon sa CCTV na pag-dating nila sa motor (sakay ng motor) at pagdating ng mga operatiba na ‘yon. Ang tanging dahilan ng tao is minura daw sila. Akala nila sila ‘yong minumura during na na-cut ‘yong motor,” said the owner.
The two young men were brought to the ACTF Office in Mendoza Park, with his motorcycle impounded, he said.
According to him, a ticket was issued to his employees before they were sent to the custody of the PPCPO Station 1.
His employees were sent home around six in the morning of the same day right after they finished sweeping the yard of the station, said the owner.
He said he went to the office of the ACTF to get the names of the officers who were caught on CCTV, but the personnel there refused to divulge the identities to him.
The owner reiterated he already talked to ACTF head Richard Ligad over the phone who advised him to file a case if he has evidence.
“Nag-effort din ako na makausap si Sir Richard Ligad regarding sa concern ko. Sabi po niya kasi sa akin, ‘Kung ayaw magpa-identify sa iyo, mag-demanda ka kung gusto mo. Hindi ‘yon magpapa-identify sa iyo. Kung may ebidensya ka, mag-demanda ka.’ Sabi [din] niya, ‘Kung meron kang complaint, sumulat ka sa akin through written complaint at aaksyunan ko ‘yan. Kasi kung through phone tayo mag-uusap ay mahirap naman ‘yon, hindi ko ‘yan basta-basta gagawan ng aksyon,’” said the owner.
In an interview with Ligad Saturday, he justified that whatever the ACTF members did to the employees of the car wash shop was only to impose their authority.
Ligad said what happened was far from any intention to abuse their exercise of authority.
In the defense of the ACTF members, Ligad said the car wash employees cursed and hit his officers first.
“Wala tayong magagawa dyan kailangang tumino ‘yong mga kabataan natin. Siyempre magka-counter din ang ating mga anti-crime. Nagamitan na sila ng maximum tolerance. Pinara sila, pumara naman sila pero bigla silang sumuntok,” said Ligad.
Ligad said he considers the incident as an “isolated case” since 2013 when the ACTF was created.
Ligad noted their patrol car was doing their regular roving towards the Immaculate Conception Cathedral when one couple riding a motorcycle told them about drunk men driving two different motorcycles.
According to Ligad, six men were riding two motorcycles, three each, shouting and cursing.
“May humingi ng tulong sa amin, mag-asawa. Noong dumaan ‘yong motor na ‘yon pinapara, hindi huminto. Ngayon noong hinabol sila ng anti-crime ‘yong motor bumalik tumakbo doon sa may car wash nila. Kaya naman sila hinabol dahil walang helmet at lasing nga pinagmumura ‘yong bawat masalubong nila pati ‘yong authorities. Bukod sa dapat huminto, minura pa ang ating mga authorities. Taga-doon pala sila sa car wash. Pag-hinto nila sa car wash isa na lang ‘yong lalaki ‘yong nandoon nagpa-ticket siya. ‘Yon naman pala palabas ‘yong maraming mga lalaki doon sa loob ng car wash, sinuntok ‘yong isang authority natin, nagkarambola na,” Ligad said.
“Sinadya nila (car wash employees) ‘yon. Sinet-up nila na makunan doon sa CCTV na ganoon. Oo, sinadya nila, pinahabol sila doon. Sila kasi ‘yong mga namumuno ng rambol dyan, ‘yong mga kabataan dyan banda. Ipagpapalit ba naman natin ‘yong mga enforcer natin sa mga iyan. Sila ‘yong mga pasimuno ng rambol diyan,” added Ligad.
Ligad stated the details regarding the incident were shared to him by his ACTF team leader.
Ligad reiterated his men were not abusive, nor harmful to the citizens.
He assured the public his men were only doing their part for the public safety and security.
“Kung lalaban sila, masasaktan talaga sila. Nobody is above the law kahit saan mo tingnan ‘yan. Kapag pinatigil, tigil. Hindi ‘yong sasapak ka ng authority. Kasi hindi naman sasapak bigla ‘yong authority,” said Ligad.