5 Parañaque enforcers face ax, charges

Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2021 - 12:00am

Over vendor’s violent arrest

MANILA, Philippines — Five members of the Parañaque government’s task force on road clearing who were caught on video manhandling an ambulant vendor, could be removed from their posts, Mayor Edwin Olivarez announced yesterday.

Olivarez suspended the city enforcers for using “excessive force” in accosting Warren Villanueva.

They are facing an administrative complaint for abuse of authority.

“They may also be terminated pending results of the investigation,” Olivarez said in an interview on ANC.

A video uploaded by ABS-CBN News showed the task force members handcuffing and tackling Villanueva to the ground when he tried to prevent them from taking his cart during a clearing operation in Baclaran.

Villanueva was also kicked in the face by one of the enforcers.

They took the vendor’s goods.

“We can see in the video what the task force members did to Warren. He was made to lie on the ground, he was put on handcuffs and someone hit his face,” Olivarez said. “We will not tolerate this.”

The task force members should have extended maximum tolerance during the clearing operation against illegal street vendors, according to the mayor.

“For the past five years that this task force existed, we did not encounter any incidents of abuse of authority by our personnel,” Olivarez said.

He said the task force, composed of casual employees hired by the city government, had been ordered not to use force when conducting road clearing operations.

They should issue ordinance violation receipts to defiant vendors, Olivarez added.

He also appealed to street vendors to follow the regulations by the local government.

“We understand the vendors’ plight because they were affected by the pandemic, but we have to follow the rule of law in clearing roads and sidewalks of obstructions,” Olivarez said.

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