BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Wednesday, February 13, assured that he will not side with Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) operatives who were involved in a scuffle with a taho (soya pudding) vendor.
Domogan ordered the City Legal Office to look into the incident, saying the incident which public outcry against the office needed a closer look.
“I’m not one to defend the POSD if they are truly in the wrong but please do not be hasty in highlighting the negative and instead see the whole picture first before reacting,” the mayor said, ruing that many concluded right away that the POSD was at fault solely on the basis of the video posted and without knowing the circumstances that led to the arrest.
He also dismissed calls to abolish the office on account of the incident saying people should not discount the value of POSD’s role as supplemental force in maintaining order at the city market, sidewalks, parks and barangays.
“We would not want to go back to our old chaotic state where illegal vendors lorded over our sidewalks and nooks and crannies,” the mayor said.
“With them there in full force, many vendors still manage to ply their illegal trade. Just imagine what happens if POSD will be completely out of the picture,” he said.
POSD Enforcement Section head Bromeo Lumiib said the mayor had been particular about the conduct of the personnel and whoever had been found to have violated the rules of conduct had been relieved after due process.
He said at least 20 men had been terminated for various causes like dishonesty and laziness but only after these were subjected to investigations and proven true.
For abusive behavior like alleged physical harm committed against vendors, Lumiib said a number of cases had been filed but none had so far been duly substantiated.
He said most of the incidents where violators sustain injuries occur only when they resist arrest or engage the personnel in a struggle.
He said the same thing happened in the February 2 incident with taho vendor Benedict Seno who he said resisted and fought the operatives instead of calmly surrendering his merchandise aware as he was of his violation.
“My men were just doing their job and to think that Mr. Seno was not a first-time offender but a habitual one. It was as if they were being dared to make an action and when they finally did, they came out as the villains,” he lamented.
Prior to his latest violation, Seno who possessed a special permit to sell as a roving vendor at St. Joseph Village had been apprehended on three occasions for illegal vending at the same spot at the Botanical Garden where vending is strictly prohibited on December 9, 2017, August 4, 2018, and January 6, 2019.
These were on top of the instances where he was just issued warnings, let go or simply ignored by the operatives. (PR)