Groups file petition vs. Marikina COP over child rights violations — Child rights groups

Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) and Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns accompanied members of Gabriela Women’s Party and parents of children who were arbitrarily arrested and detained during implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in filing charges against Marikina City Police Commander 2 Emil Delos Santos Garcia over grave abuse of authority.

“We urge the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Department of Local and Interior Government (DILG) to investigate the abuses allegedly committed by Marikina Police Chief Emil Delos Santos Garcia against women and children during the implementation of ECQ. He must be sacked from his post for causing additional pain and suffering to our children in this very trying time,” said Children’s Rehabilitation Center Deputy Director Nikki Aserios.

Citing the documentation of CRC, Aserios noted that children are accusing Police Chief Garcia of arbitrarily arresting and detaining them for supposedly violating the quarantine protocols.

Worse, these children were verbally and physically abused by arresting police officers.

“There are three minors who claimed that Police Chief Garcia threatened to shoot them should they refuse to go with the arresting police officers. Another 17-year old girl complained that cops humiliated and made sexually offensive remarks against her when she was arrested,” Aserios added.

“The abusive behaviour and actions of the police chief towards the residents of Barangay Industrial Valley Complex, Marikina City is a sharp contrast to the good reputation of the city government in its response to the health crisis,” she emphasized.

The group attached to the formal complaint a petition signed by more than 300 residents of Barangay IVC in support to the call for an investigation of the alleged violations.

CRC has facilitated the immediate reintegration of the victims to their families after being placed in a child welfare facility in Marikina.

CRC also provided psychosocial debriefing and relief assistance to these children.

“The pandemic has already taken a heavy toll on children – their daily routines have been disrupted, they are confused and uncertain of the future. Worse, the police authorities are insensitive to the plight of children and they continue to disregard their rights,” she emphasized.

According to Aserios, most of the police officers are unaware of the protocols in handling children, especially during the enhanced community quarantine.

“In fact, they could have only warned these children and immediately turn over to their parents,” Aserios stated.

The group claimed that these cases were just some of the hundreds of undocumented cases nationwide during the lockdown.

“We demand the concerned government agencies to favorably respond to our complaints by conducting an independent and thorough investigation of the child rights violations in order to make the perpetrators accountable and to extract justice for the children victims“ Aserios ended.