AN ONLINE petition was launched Monday, November 23, to dismiss Marvin Garcia Herrera, head of the Public Order and Safety Division, for maltreatment, harassment, official misconduct, and abuse of official position.
Baguio City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña assured that issues surrounding the POSD will be tackled and resolved following public outrage.
"We have talked to POSD personnel, we will resolve this, look to the side of our POSD personnel, we will handle this," Dela Peña said.
The online petition reads: "This is a formal request from the concerned people of Baguio for the immediate dismissal, in regard to what had transpired at the Baguio City Public Market dated 18 November 2020, the aforementioned person was caught in an intense argument with a local vendor and evidently demonstrating his dominance over him. Such act should be addressed directly. Majority of the vendors of the said public market can attest to the undesirable treatment of the POSD Head over them, thus writing this petition. The prime objective of this appeal is to ensure that public official(s) and/or employee(s) entrusted by the people with public authority do not abuse same and the influence accruing from their offices, for personal gain."
But Herrera, in an interview, said the incident at the market stemmed from a violation of social distancing rules. He also stood by the actions of the POSD, saying no apprehensions were made, and no maltreatment nor abuse was done.
"I lost my composure there and many things were said, but we ended it there and I told the mother of the violator that I will not apprehend her son," Herrera said.
The petition added: "The intent is to enforce public consciousness and awareness, and to render the issue of abuse of power and office addressed for any government official(s) and/or employee(s). Concerned citizens of Baguio City raised this matter immediately, but to no avail. It was conspicuous that the said circumstance was not given importance and proper attention. This matter, if not properly addressed will persist. The unfortunate citizens of Baguio most especially the local vendor(s) from the public market will suffer from this fearful act."
POSD was also slammed over the weekend after one of its personnel allegedly apprehended and issued a citation ticket to a visually impaired individual for jaywalking.
But Herrera said the visually impaired man was not blind nor was using a cane, and was even accompanied by another individual. Both crossed the street where they were not supposed to, which led the personnel to apprehend them.
"Before they judge people, look at the two sides of the story, di naman kami tulisan, madami naman kami pinagbigyan kasi may consideration, we did nothing wrong," Herrera said.
Hererra added that when he accepted the job as POSD officer, he knew about the difficulties but this does not change his resolve to continue with his mandate.