PROBE personnel in viral video to face investigation
CEBU, Philippines — A Facebook post showing three Cebu City Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, Enhancement team personnel ‘manhandling’ a fruit vendor they apprehended at the North Reclamation Area on Thursday has gone viral on social media.
Netizens criticized the alleged maltreatment shown in the viral post, which has already generated over one million views as of yesterday.
This also prompted the City Legal Office to conduct an investigation into the incident.
City Legal Officer Rey Gealon has created a three-man team conduct the investigation.
“We will look into the issue of whether or not proper legal and regulatory procedures were observed by the elements of PROBE in the conduct of that apprehension of the fruit vendor,” said Gealon.
“The mayor does not condone any abuse by agents of government. So assuringly, there will be no sacred cow and heads will roll, if it must,” he added
Members of the City Council have also expressed disappointment over the incident. Vice Mayor Michael Rama said he was saddened upon seeing the viral video.
The vice mayor has urged Mayor Edgardo Labella to take appropriate action as soon as possible before the matter goes out of hand. Rama said ambulant vendors should not be treated that way, an act he described as inhuman. He said it is expected for them to resist because they are selling for survival.
“The council already made a stand. The mayor should be very clear if they can return (selling) or not,” said Rama.
Councilor Alvin Dizon also shared his thoughts on the incident. He said vendors deserve recognition not castigation.
“Reaching out to them should not be mistaken as tolerating their transgressions. It simply is the means to harness their creative potentials to contribute in the well-being of our city. Negotiation is not leniency but is a recognition that each side to an issue can contribute to its resolution,” said Dizon.
PROBE team head Raquel Arce, for her part, said the fruit vendor had been apprehended five times already in different areas — Sto. Niño, Manalili, along Carbon, and twice near Gaisano Main along Colon.
She said the vendor was apprehended by PROBE personnel thrice in the area where he was caught on video.
“Based on my investigation, napuno nalang to sila kay ikatulo na to siya gibadlong na papahawaon diha,” said Arce.
The area, A. Soriano Street, is included in the road inventory submitted to the Department of the Interior and Local Government in relation to the road clearing. Arce yesterday made a public apology for what had happened.
She said the fruit vendor cannot avail the night market, which is solely dedicated for sidewalk vendors, since he is not a resident in the city. The man is from Mandaue City.
“Ang mga vendors nga resident sa Cebu City nituman man gani bisan sakit sa ilang buot. Kahibawo kong gahuot ilang dughan kay gusto pa gyud sila mobalik pero atoa gyud gihugtan og pagpatuman,” said Arce.
“Kahibawo ko adunay mga walay kauyon sa amoang trabaho, naa say nakauyon, pero ang akoa… igo lang mi mopatuman,” she added.
Arce also clarified that the perishable goods confiscated by PROBE are being turned over to the community scout if not redeemed by the vendors after 24 hours. FPL (FREEMAN)