Alleged quarantine violation leads to altercation at gated Makati village

Franco Luna - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2, 9:23 p.m.) — The attempted warrantless arrest of a man over an alleged quarantine violation in a gated subdivision in Makati City has again put the Philippine National Police in the spotlight as a video of the incident spread on social media on Monday.

A separate video released by police also showed the man cursing at a police officer, who was, at the time, calmly asking the man to settle the matter at the barangay hall. 

According to Dasmariñas Village resident Javier Parra, a member of his staff reported at 6 p.m. on Sunday that Makati police drove up to his house and intended to fine him P1,000 as his helper, Cherelyn, was not wearing a face mask, which is required when outside the home.

In a video shared to Philstar.com, Parra's wife is shown pleading with a man in police field service uniform as he attempts to take Parra to the ground. The police officer manages to take Parra down with an arm drag but did not cuff him.

"He has a back injury, it's life threatening. You cannot arrest somebody in our house, you have to have a warrant," she says. 

READ: PNP: We'll go 'straight to arrests' in 'martial law-type' quarantine

"I will arrest you too," he is heard saying in response in the video.  

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has said that all residents and workers in Luzon are required to wear face masks when they are outside their residencs.

"I also suffer of a spinal injury which causes me immense pain in my lower back and legs. Having been thrown on the floor and brutalized and attempted to be illegally arrested, has caused me immense physical pain," Parra said in a statement sent to Philstar.com.

"Does Makati police not have better things to do, like stop real criminals? If there was no camera running, would he perhaps have shot me, like the police man did with the mentally challenged man few days ago?" he says, referring to the shooting of retired Cpl. Winston Ragos, a former soldier who was shot dead by a Quezon City police officer last week in an encounter prompted by an alleged quarantine violation.

READ: QC cop who killed ex-soldier 'followed instruction' — PNP chief 

"My concern is mainly that this police officer and Makati police does this also to the poor, who are not as defensive as me. Filipinos are all in a dire situation with the lockdown, the last thing they need is Makati policemen going havoc on Makati citizens," he added. 

Parra also recounted seeing a total of seven police cars outside his home after the incident. 

Barangay: Just a reprimand, no fine

But Barangay Dasmariñas, in a statement issued to residents, said that Parra and his household started the altercation. 

"This policeman is a very polite cop. Contrary to what they said, he was not fining anyone for that matter for not wearing mask. He was just reprimanding him. The police held his cool for the longest time," the statement read. 

In a video released by the police, Parra is shown cursing at the policeman and telling him to leave. The same video caught the homeowner going onto the street as if to confront law enforcement personnel at the scene.

"Because of what he did, the police finally said he will arrest him, but he resisted arrest and when the wife said he had spine surgery, the police stopped handcuffing him."

"I wanted it to be blottered only and not embarrass this guy and his family but they started it," the barangay statement read. A blotter report is a log of an incident and is not the same as a formal complaint.

Police to file charges

In a statement sent to Philstar.com later Monday by Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, the PNP said that Makati police will file a complaint against Parra. 

According to Banac, a Barangay Dasmariñas watchman and Makati police were patroling the village when they cited Parra's househelp for not wearing a face mask, at which point Parra confronted and cursed at the police and the tanod. 

"They accosted a househelper outside the house of Mr. Parra without face mask. The househelper was asked for an ID for issuance of violation citation ticket," Banac's statement read. 

Police then attempted to restrain a visibly indigant Parra, who resisted arrest. 

"It is in the best interest of public health, order and safety that the PNP is enforcing ECQ rules and local ordinances to contain the spread of COVID-19," Banac said. 

"Let me emphasize that Police operations to enforce the law are strictly guided by the Revised Police Operational Procedures that every police officer making arrests or police intervention should strictly observe."

Asked what charges would be filed against Parra, Banac said that NCRPO had not yet updated the PNP.

The Department of Interior and Local Government previously assured the public that all police officers would be "courteous and firm and will follow all laws and regulations."

RELATED: Public urged to document attacks, abuses during Luzon lockdown

NCRPO: Officer displayed maximum tolerance

For his part, Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, NCRPO chief,  in a statement on Monday evening backed the PNP's earlier pronouncements, saying the police officer involved "displayed maximum tolerance in handling the incident despite the arrogance" of Parra. 

"The statement of the witnesses together with the video will now be used in the filing of the following cases against Mr. Parra, to wit: Disobedience, Assault of Person of Authority in Violation of City Ordinance of not Wearing Mask," his statement reads. 

It is unclear if he is being charged with Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person, or if he is charged with violation of quarantine under the Bayanihan Heal as One Act for non-cooperation of persons and entities.

Section 9(d) of Republic Act No. 11332 reads: "Violation may be penalized with a fine of not less than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) but not more than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) or imprisonment of not less than one (1) month but not more than six (6) months, or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the proper court."

"In line with the Extended Enhanced Community Quarantine, we have invigorated our efforts in its implementation and this does not exclude gated communities," he adds. 

"Team NCRPO will continuously enforce the law without fear or favor irrespective of the social status of persons violating the law."

Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP chief, has stated that under the national police's "tighter" enforcement of quarantine procedures from here on out, cops will no longer warn citizens before arresting them. 

"In the name of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and with the help of the staff of the Philippine National Police and the soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, we will enforce starting now a strict enhanced community quarantine," Gamboa said in a public address on April 21. 

"There will be no more warning for violators," he added.

Banac later said that this had nothing to do with President Duterte's warning of "martial law-like" implementation. 

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