JJ Domingo, a 20-year old student of international relations, relates in his Facebook wall the harrowing experience of his mother in the hands of people who introduced themselves as members of the Quezon City police.
JJ , who is now in Japan with his mother, said he has emailed this narration to the Philippine National Police and to the Napolcom. So far, he has not received any response.
He is also sending it to the Commission on Human Rights.
Here his story about what he said was the “arbitrary detention and extortion” of his mother by men who are supposed to protect her from lawless elements:
“When my mother went to the Philippines to attend the graduation ceremony of my sister and to seek the opinion of Filipino doctors on her mild cancer two weeks ago, she had no idea she was in for the shock of her life.
“Last April 14, my mother went to visit a friend named Janet who lives in a slum area in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. That friend owes my mother some thousands, which my mother decided to collect because she needs money for her medication. My mother was accompanied by an old friend, Maximo Gabriel.
“At around twelve noon, just when my mother and Gabriel were about to leave Janet’s place, two plain-clothed policemen- one called Allan and another named Mar Palic- approached them, accusing them of drug possession. My mother and her friends aghastly denied this, and before the two cops could search them they showed their bags to the police officers and emptied their pockets to show that there was nothing incriminating inside. Still, the cops “invited” them for questioning.
“’Sumama kayo sa amin (Come with us),’ said the cops.
“’Bakit po kami sasama sa inyo, wala naman po kaming ginagawa (Why should we? We’re not doing anything wrong),’ answered my mom.
“’Kung wala kayong ginagawang masama eh bakit kayo matatakot na sumama sa amin (If you’re not doing anything wrong, why don’t you come with us?)’
“And so they decided to go with the cops, thinking that they would only be invited for random questioning and be released immediately. But to their surprise, the officers took their cellphones and did not allow them to make calls. And instead of being taken straight to the police station, they were driven around for at least three hours while the policemen intimidated them and forced them to make a confession!
“At around three in the afternoon, they were finally taken to the cafeteria in the third floor of Police Station Number 3 along Quirino Highway in Barangay Talipapa, Novaliches, Quezon City. There my mother was subjected to the worst kinds of insults.
“’Bakit naman dadayo pa kayo dito eh andaming mabibiling shabu sa Fairview (Why come here when you can buy drugs in your place?)’
“’Siguro labas-pasok ka na sa kulungan no? Tignan mo nga itsura mo, parang isang
“’Ilang linggo ka na bang nagda-darna? (How many weeks have you been doing a Darna?)’
“For about an hour, the cops forced them to make a confession but they stubbornly refused. Finally, the cops said they would be subjected to drug tests if they don’t confess. Although my mother is aware that random drug testing is against the law, she and her friends immediately agreed, thinking that this would be the best way out.
“’Pag po ba negative sa tests pwede na po ba kaming umuwi? (Can we go home if we get negative results in the drug tests?)’ asked my mom.
“’Oo. Pero sa itsura nyong yan malamang positive (Yes, but, looking at you now, I’m sure you’ll get positive results),’answered the cop as he laughed obnoxiously at my mother’s expense.
“They were then told that they would be taken to the police laboratory for the tests. But instead they were driven back to the slum area in Tandang Sora because the cops claimed they needed to talk to their informer. There the two cops alighted and went inside the compound while my mother, her friends, and the errand boy of the police station remained in the car. At that point, the said errand boy told them that they needed only to pay twenty thousand pesos each and they will be released. This is a clear case of soliciting bribes, and my mom and her friends refused.
“And so instead of being taken to the laboratory for the drug tests, they were taken back to the police station in Talipapa. At this point, my mom and her friends were understandably very mad. She demanded that they go and get the tests already so they can all go home. When the cops were pissed off with their legitimate complaints, they were detained behind bars!
“What’s more, when they were asked to list down their belongings that they were supposed to surrender before being detained, police officer Mar Palic refused to list down my mother’s cellphone; he took it! If it’s any consolation, my mother was allowed to make one phone call which she used to ask my uncle to come to her rescue.
“You can only imagine the trauma and emotions this brought to my mom. She demanded that she be informed of the reasons why she was being detained. Her friends, on the other hand, begged the cops to let her go, since she’d be in the Philippines only for two weeks and she wanted to spend as much time as possible with her kids. When the cops heard this, they only insulted her and laughed at her expense.
“The desk officer then came to my mom and asked her to just make “areglo” (settle the matter) with the cops. But the cops were asking for twenty fucking thousand pesos! My mom asked if she can pay just three thousand since that’s all she had, but the cops refused.
“When my uncle came, the police told him that they caught my mother in the act of using drugs– a big, fat lie!
“At this point, my mom was determined to call the family lawyer, but my uncle told him that if the lawyer came, the cops who signed her arrest order would surely disappear and so she would still end up staying in jail for the whole night. Also, my mother’s friend Janet still has kids left in her home to attend to. So reluctantly, they decided to make “areglo.”
“After some negotiations, the cost of the ‘areglo’ was lowered from twenty thousand to fifteen thousand pesos and my mother’s cellphone.
“When my mom got home, she cried like a baby. Here she was, a single mother and an OFW who has never broken any law, being treated like a criminal. Here she was, a simple citizen who cooperated with the police when they invited her for questioning completely trusting that these officers of the law would respect her most basic rights, being insulted and humiliated.
“It doesn’t take a lawyer to see the violations and abuses made by these policemen. They certainly violated my mother’s Miranda rights when they refused to let her use her cellphone to immediately make calls. They committed arbitrary detention, and I believe that’s felony.
They committed extortion, and that should put them behind bars for a few years.
“It appears that this is a common modus operandi of Philippine policemen in many slum areas that are suspected of having drug activity. They intimidate people who they think they can milk with bribe money. The sad thing is, while innocent people like my mom are subjected to this kind of inhuamne treatment; the guilty ones easily get away with violating the law by bribing these policemen.
“I’m proud that my mother and her friends took the effort to resist these cops’ extortion, but I’m a little bit disappointed that they had to cave in in the end. But what could they do? My mom was scheduled to be in the Philippines for only two weeks and she wanted to spend every day of those two weeks with her kids and not in jail.
“My mom just got home from the Philippines a while ago, and she told me all about this just now. She was crying. She needed that money the cops took for her medication. And my blood is fucking boiling. I don’t intend to to take this sitting down. But to be honest, I don’t know what to do.
“Right now, all I have in mind is to write the chief of the National Police Commission and to encourage my uncle in the Philippines to file a case for the dismissal of ”Allan” and Mar Palic and of the chief of Police Station Number 3 in Barangay Talipapa, Novaliches, Quezon City first thing in the morning. I want all of these officers dismissed and I want my mother’s hard earned fifteen thousand pesos and her cellphone returned. I’m going to ask all my friends for all the help they could give me. If I need to go to Manila to get the heads of these cops on a silver platter, I’ll take the next flight.
“I hope everyone who reads this will pass it on and spread the news.” (http://www.ellentordesillas.com/)