After cop mauling, lawmaker reminds Garin: ‘We are not high and mighty’

MANILA, Philippines – A cop turned congressman reminded his colleague, Iloilo 1st District Representative Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr, not to use his position to abuse the police.

Pangasinan 2nd District Representative Leopoldo Bataoil said in a privilege speech on Monday, January 14, that his “heart bleeds” for Guimbal cop Police Officer III Federico Macaya, whom Garin and his father, Iloilo Mayor Oscar Garin, assaulted in December 2018. 

“I am sorry if my words here today will ruffle some feathers. That is not my intention. My intention is merely to remind us all that we are not high and mighty. What we have is merely an illusion,” said Bataoil, who was previously a ranking policeman. 

“We are subject to the law. We are subject as well to the renewal of our mandate to serve through the ballot. But our actions must be guided by both the letter of the law, and the wishes and aspirations of our constituents. One cannot take the place of the other, nor can one hold ascendant over the other,” he added. 

Before joining politics in 2010, Bataoil was regional director of the National Capital Region Police Office and later, director of the Integrated Police Office for Northern Luzon.

He was applauded many times by the hundreds of police officers who went to the Batasang Pambansa to listen to Bataoil's privilege speech on Monday.

Abuse

On December 26, 2018, a police spot report said the Garins summoned Macaya at around 3:20 am then allegedly proceeded to disarm, cuff, and hold the cop at gunpoint.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has since canceled the Garins' privilege to own guns and filed a criminal complaint against the father and son.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde also endorsed to the National Police Commission the recommendation to strip Mayor Garin of his police powers. Such powers allowed the mayor to deploy, choose, or reassign police personnel in his area.

President Rodrigo Duterte already ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government to file charges against the Garins over the incident. 

“The PNP is not without its faults. Whether it be on the issue of jueteng, on drugs, or scalawags in uniform, the PNP’s image has been battered time and again. But it cannot be made to pass that both their image and their wherewithal are allowed to slide further down,” said Bataoil.

The police, however, have become notorious under the Duterte administration because of the bloody drug war. As of October 2018, data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency showed that 4,999 lives have been claimed in the course of 113,570 government anti-drug operations, while about 161,584 drug personalities have been arrested so far. (READ: Duterte gov't allows 'drug war' deaths to go unsolved) 

Majority of the operations were carried out by the police. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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