Barangay captain faces raps for locking curfew violators in dog cage

Barangay captain faces raps for locking curfew violators in dog cage
Ambrocio faces multiple charges for locking people up in a dog cage.
Eric Panisan Ambrocio Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The barangay chairman in Santa Cruz, Laguna who was seen in photos posted on Facebook locking up curfew violators faces multiple raps for what he did, the Laguna Provincial Police Office said Saturday.

Among those that Barangay Gatid chairman Frederick Ambrocio, 40, locked up in a dog cage were two minors, Laguna police said.

According to the Santa Cruz Municipal Police Station, barangay watchmen caught the five curfew violators walking to a friend's house at 10 p.m. Monday night despite strict directives from the national government for people to stay at home during the monthlong enhanced community quarantine that ends at midnight on April 13.

"The victims were brought to the barangay hall of Barangay Gatid where they met the suspect who allegedly threatened to shoot the victims [if they do not go into the] dog cage and [stay] there for about thirty minutes before being released from the cage," Laguna police also said.

Ambrocio faces charges of violating the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act as well as grave threat and coercion.

The Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act penalizes "acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation."

On his Facebook page, Ambrocio said that barangay watchmen had told the five curfew breakers to go home but that they refused.

He said the five, who were drunk, cursed at the watchmen.

Laguna police: Observe maximum tolerance

Police Col. Serafin Petalio II, provincial police director, in a seminar at the provincial police headquarters in Santa Cruz earlier on Monday had told the province's police chiefs, quick response teams and barangay peace-keeping teams to observe maximum tolerance and to stick to the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases for the Luzon-wide quarantine.

"[I]n the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, we need to stick with the approved set by the national government. Otherwise, the rights of the people might be violated, it may cause confusion and additional constraint or burden to them, thus making the situation more difficult for them than it is," the Laguno PPO quotes Petalio as saying.

In a March 16 address, President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared the the enhanced community quarantine across Luzon, had stressed that barangay chairs would be responsible for enforcing the quarantine. He also said that they should look after their constituents.

"Wag kayong matakot. Ako na ang nagsasabi sa iyo, wag kayong matakot," the president said in his address.

(Do not be afraid. I am telling you, do not be afraid.)

"At kung yung barangay captain ninyo ay tatamad-tamaran, siya ang puntahan ko," he also said.

(And if your barangay captain is lazy, I will go after him)

Remember, if there is a barangay captain who does not fulfill his duty in going around and trying to find out how the citizens are faring, if you are afraid to die of COVID-19, then you have no business being a barangay captain," the president said.

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