BY Pet Melliza
(Iloilo City, Philippines)–The way Iloilo City mayor Jedd Patrick Mabilog stacks the Anti-Prostitution Task Force with nitwits, it is already a foregone conclusion that it will solve everything particularly the empty pockets of its operatives, except, well, prostitution.
Yours truly would rather suggest that the enforcement of the anti-prostitution task force be vested on the PNP or the social welfare office. At the very least, PNP members are trained in basic criminal procedures, are accountable public officers, and many of them have undergone gender sensitivity seminars.
The task force of Mabilog is dominated by casuals and project-hires (those whose term depends on the duration of a certain project or program) who are not accountable officers. Most are non-civil service eligible and posted on the job not by their education qualification but only by their proximity with the appointing authority.
Last Monday, November 15, we were on the road for home from Roda’s Videoke (more popularly called “Kamunsilan”), Guzman, Mandurriao, Iloilo City when three vehicles screeched to a halt and disgorged men in civilian attire, two heavily armed PNP officers in ranger uniform accompanying them.
The raiders did not even bother to introduce themselves. They simply barged in and rounded up four women for no other reason than the failure of their victims to produce “pink” or “health” cards issued by the mayor’s office stating that the holders thereof have gone through the latest smear test to show they are safe from sexually transmitted disease.
We were walking when one regular customer informed me that the women were to be brought to the PNP station at Mandurriao for booking. We caught up with them at the station. At the PNP office one task force member informed the women they would be freed if they could put up a “piyansa” of P500 each to their leader, a plump woman who was holding a wad of presumably official receipts.
We asked her whether she was a regular employee from city treasurer’s? She admitted she was not a regular employee.
That does it.
These riff-raffs in the task force are not even accountable officers yet they are vested with powers greater than those granted to the PNP, the treasurer’s office, and the judiciary.
We are not sure whether the city ordinance makes it mandatory for women workers in nightclubs, beer-houses or videoke nooks, to have updated health cards and failure to do so renders them criminally liable, thus, must pay P500 in fine or suffer imprisonment or both.
A cashier who is a regular government employee is required to post bond before he/she could receive or disburse monies. Mayor Mabilog, however, has decreed his nitwits more powerful than regulars that they are at liberty to receive “fines” despite their disqualification for being non-civil service eligible and unbonded.
A person who violated a law or ordinance is protected by constitutional due process, that is, he/she enjoys the presumption of innocence and can only be meted a penalty of fine or imprisonment upon conviction by a competent authority, in this case, a judge, after a fair trial.
Mayor Mabilog, however, has vested on his nitwits a power greater than the judge’s. The four women picked up from Kamunsilan were arrested sans warrants and ordered to pay a P500 fine each sans fair trial where a nitwit of a casual served both as judge and cashier to receive the fine.
When we arrived at the station, we booked the task force members for “illegal arrest” and “usurpation” of the authority of the PNP and the court. We informed the OIC of the station that he should not allow these casuals to give orders to the PNP.
The task force members dissipated after we started scrutinizing their identities. They promised to return with their counsel. They did not.
The OIC informed us that he already ordered the release of the women for failure of the task force to file a complaint. We also conceded, upon his request, to delete the entry in the blotter that we had posted crucifying the task force members.
That was a story with a happy ending but the sad reality obtaining in the country continues to bode ill to the oppression and exploitation of women, particularly, those in the lower rungs of society where the juggernaut of poverty and ignorance forces a growing number of our young into prostitution.
Rounding them up and squeezing P500 from each of them has failed and continues to fail, especially when the people entrusted the duty of preventing prostitution are the current breed of rascals in Mabilog’s anti-prostitution task force who need to be sent to grade one section 10 if only to teach them gender sensitivity.
Like commissioning Dracula to guard the blood bank.
Like appointing Virginia Palanca-Santiago regional director of the Office of the Ombudsman in Western Visayas, the bureaucrat who yours truly describes in a 21-series column, “ a moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting has her looks”.
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Frente Sur Melliza likes this.
Hansel O. Didulo Nice piece pre… Ano na lang kung wala abogado diri sa kalibutan? Damu-damu gid abusado….
Thursday at 6:24pm · LikeUnlike
Pistong Melliza mas sakit pa diri isulaton ni peter
Friday at 7:01am · LikeUnlike
Nelson Robles amo na iya pet! depensahan ang kawsa sg kababainhan
Friday at 9:12am · LikeUnlike