'Unjustified, unnecessary': CHR looking into aggressive arrest of vendor in Parañaque
A video taken during the clearing operations in Parañaque City last week showed task force members manhandling a vendor who refused to give his cart.
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'Unjustified, unnecessary': CHR looking into aggressive arrest of vendor in Parañaque

(Philstar.com) - January 25, 2021 - 5:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights said it is looking into the aggressive arrest of a street vendor caught in video as it called on law enforcers to be humane in apprehending people, especially the impoverished ones.

In a statement Monday, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said the violent arrest of a man by members of Parañaque City’s task force during a clearing operation last week is “deeply concerning.”

A video taken by ABS-CBN showed the enforcers tackling the vendor to the ground when he tried to stop them from taking his cart—his main utility for selling—away. A member even kicked the vendor in the face.

“The use of excessive force by the task force appears unjustified and unnecessary. It constitutes cruelty, degrades the person, and can cause psychological harm,” De Guia said.

The CHR official stressed that implementing the law must account for the totality of the situation and the human condition.

“In apprehending small vendors, we hope that their dire situation is given due consideration and alternative options are provided so they may continue to earn a decent living,” De Guia said.

“Law enforcement must not transgress the dignity of individuals, especially the impoverished ones who need the law’s utmost protection,” she added.

In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said task force members, who are casual employees of the city government, are ordered to conduct clearing operations with maximum tolerance.

Task force, barangay enforcers and police officers are also now allowed to use excessive force and abuse of authority.

Raps vs Parañaque enforcers

Olivarez said the five task force members have been suspended from service and will soon face administrative raps.

De Guia said this is a welcome development to ensure that such abuse will not happen again.

“We hope that immediate psychological intervention is also provided to the vendor in recognition of the harm done. For the CHR’s part, our investigation team has been dispatched to look into the incident and provide needed intervention,” she said. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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