A Roxas town resident who was detained overnight by local authorities on Monday after criticizing officials of her barangay on social media has vowed to file charges of arbitrary detention against the police.
Shirley dela Rosa, 36, of Barangay Caramay, Roxas, was arrested and detained on Monday after she posted several video clips on Facebook criticizing her village over the manner of distribution of relief assistance to residents.
Dela Rosa had already posted her video clips when policemen arrested her.
“May pulis na dumating at hinahanap ako. Tinanong ko sila kung may warrant of arrest wala naman daw kasi iniimbitahan lang daw ako para magkausap ni kapitan [Ofelia Gabo],” she said.
“In-entertain ko naman sila [police]. Hindi ko akalain, pagtalikod ko, binantayan pala nila ako na makalabas ng bahay. May dumating kahapon na sa isang grupo at tumulong ako mamahagi ng bigas sa aming purok. Hindi umalis ‘yong pulis doon at bigla na lang ako pinosasan sa likod,” she added.
Dela Rosa confirmed that Roxas Municipal Police Station (MPS) chief P/Maj. Analyn Palma, who was also present during her arrest on Monday afternoon, read her Miranda rights but she was surprised to be put inside the detention facility after merely being invited to talk with the complainant, Caramay village chief Ofelia Gabo.
“Keeping the peace”
Palma justified their action, stating they were “just doing our job” at keeping the peace amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are just doing our job. We are implementing peace and security within the municipality. For now nasa crisis tayo, maghunos dili muna tayo on posting other information. Do not instigate pa ‘yong ating mga kababayan na naghihirap na nga instigator pa. As much as possible, we should give positive energy sa ating mga kabarangay,” Palma said.
Palma said that the inquest proceeding was done after the arrest. However, she did not state if a formal complaint was filed before a judicial authority to determine the validity of the police action.
The local police also took mugshots of Dela Rosa before committing her to jail.
Released after a night in a cell
Palma said they released Dela Rosa Tuesday morning after she and Gabo agreed to resolve their differences.
“Ni-release na natin at dinismiss na ni kapitan for the meantime dahil nag-uusap sila at nagkaayos na. Depende kay kapitan kung mag-issue ng settlement or affidavit of desistance na susumpaan nilang dalawa to finalize na lang. Para maiwasan na, nagkapatawaran na humingi rin naman din ng patawad,” Palma said.
Dela Rosa said she apologized to Gabo and promised to issue a public apology, which she would also post on Facebook.
Dela Rosa, however, said she was prevailed upon by her family to press charges against the police authorities for how she was treated at the station.
“Nagkausap naman kami ni kap at nag-sorry ako, pero ‘yong pamilya ko na ang nagsabing mali ang ginawa ng mga pulis sa akin. Hindi naman ‘yon makatao,” Dela Rosa said.
“Pinag-mukha nila akong kriminal,” she said. “Mahirap lang kami, wala naman kaming abogado. Pero noong lumabas na sa social media ‘yong mukha ko na pinag-mukha nila akong kriminal, marami nang tumawag”.
Dela Rosa, in her Facebook video, claimed that there was an unfair and selective distribution of cash aid. She claimed that certain enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) guidelines were violated during the distribution, citing that social distancing was not observed, no alcohols and no washing area were set in place, and that some senior citizens had a hard time during the queue for cash assistance distribution.
Gabo had denied Dela Rosa’s claims, stating that her common-law husband, Freddie Abrea, was included in the list of beneficiaries from the social amelioration program (SAP).
Palma said Dela Rosa’s acts constituted a violation of Republic Act (RA) 10175 or cyber libel, and RA 11469 or Bayanihan Act Heal as One (BAHO), particularly Section F, penalizing “individuals or groups creating, perpetrating or spreading false information about COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms, with no valid or beneficial effect on the population which promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear or confusion”.
“The issue here is that nasa listahan naman sila, bibigyan naman at nakatikim naman sila ng ayuda, pantay pantay naman ang pagbibigay. Ang pagkakamali niya lang kung bakit niya kailangang sabihin na wala which is noong na-verify namin meron naman pala siyang natanggap na ayuda mula sa gobyerno,” Palma said.