DCPO apologizes, assures incident won’t happen again

The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) has issued a public apology after two rookie police officers imposed corporal punishment to minors who were rounded up for curfew violation.

“We apologize for the acts committed by our two personnel and ensure that no similar incident will follow,” a statement coming from the office of DCPO director Alexander Tagum said.

“May this not affect your trust and confidence in us as we will continue to serve you with the full length of recognizing the rule of law and the respect for human rights in all aspects.”
Criminal charges were already filed against PO1s Jeobani Natividad and Jesre Masinading, both crewmembers of the DCPO’s Mobile Patrol Group, before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Aside from abuse and torture charges that were filed on Wednesday, the two will also likely be facing administrative charges.

The two were caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV) hurting three children right inside the hall of Barangay 19-B, Poblacion District.

In an interview with reporters yesterday, the two police officers also asked for forgiveness.

However, Masinading and Natividad said they only imposed the “discipline” like big brothers to the kids as they were asked by the parents to do so.

“We have no intention of hurting the kids,” Natividad said in vernacular. “We were just concerned with their welfare. They should not be roaming in the street late at night.”

Masinading appealed to the parents to be responsible in guiding their children so they would not roam around the street late at night and prevent them from creating trouble or being involved in crime.

In his statement, Tagum said his “office has frequently reminded our line duty policemen, like personnel of Mobile Patrol Group, of their basic duties and functions to always follow the Police Operational Procedure especially when responding to an incident by not taking it personally nor be swayed by their emotions.”

“I further reminded everyone on the proper arrest and respect to human dignity and human rights especially the rights of Children in Conflict with the Law,” Tagum added.

Tagum said the DCPO is saddened by the mauling incident that involved the two neophyte police officers who were rescuing minors allegedly involved in a riot on Jan. 21, 2018 at Brgy 19-B.

“We would like to inform the public that the Davao City Police Office neither tolerates nor condones any irregularities, abuses, misconduct and inappropriate behavior within our personnel,” he said.

“We are asking all Davaoenos for understanding, let us be open minded regarding this incident as this will not define the totality of the Davao City Police Office’ Officers, Men and Women’s dedication and devotion to God, Country and People,” Tagum said in the statement.

The two police officers are now in restrictive custody as part of the procedure pending the investigation of both criminal and administrative charges.

According to the report, the two police officers responded to a call for police assistance due to a gang riot report at Garcia Heights in Barangay 19-B on Jan. 21, a Sunday, at 1:15 a.m..

When the police officers arrived, the minors were already endorsed at the barangay hall by the responding barangay watchmen.

During the discussions at the Barangay Hall, the parents of the rescued children allegedly asked the barangay officials and the responding police officers to discipline their sons, said to be perennial problem in the barangay.

“Acting against their better judgment, our two personnel acceded to the request by hitting the bare soles of the minors with the use of the rattan batons of the barangay tanods and punching them in the stomach in full view of the CCTV camera of said barangay hall,” the police report said.

The CCTV footage was later leaked to the media and became viral.

The two accused police officers, however, found an ally in Barangay Chair Loreto Nicolas.

Nicolas said what the officers did was justifiable as the children were problems to the barangay.

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