A barangay captain in Pampanga violated several laws and a child's rights when he told a group of people to do lewd acts to each other and in front of a minor as punishment for flouting a curfew in the province.
This was according to lawyer and Commission on Human Rights spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia, referring to the incident at Brgy. Pandacaqui, Mexico, Pampanga wherein Brgy. Captain Bombing Punzalan imposed a punishment to three people belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
The three people were reportedly ordered to do a sexy dance in front of a minor, who was also caught for violating the curfew during the Luzon-wide lockdown. Two of the three were also told to kiss each other.
“Kailangan parating isipin ng ating mga local government units na ang enhanced community quarantine at ang iba pang mga guidelines ay ginagawa para protektahan ang karapatang pantao ng lahat ng mga Pilipino," she said in a statement.
De Guia said the barangay captain's actions were in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act; and the Joint Memorandum Circular of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Council for the Welfare of Children No. 2020-001, which all ensure the protection of children from inhumane treatement.
“Hindi rin tama na kahit sa pagsita sa paglabag sa curfew ay tila nakararanas din ng diskriminasyon ang mga miyembro ng LGBT community at ginagawa silang katatawanan," she said.
"Ang mga ganyang pagturing ay dumadagdag lamang sa humahabang listahan ng karahasan na nadudulot ng lalong hindi pagkakapantay-pantay sa lipunan,” De Guia added.
The CHR official said even the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act provides that children who will violate curfew rules should be brought to their respective homes or to any barangay official who will then bring them to their homes where the children’s parents, or any guardian for that matter, can exercise the needed intervention as provided for by the law.
“Anumang aksyon na matuturing na pang-aabuso at nagpapahamak sa mga bata ay posibleng maging paglabag sa Republic Act No. 7610 o ang Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act,” De Guia said.
“Hindi kailanman nasususpinde ang karapatang pantao maging sa kontekso ng isang national health emergency. Kaya naman hindi maaaring ang gobyerno rin ang unang lalabag sa mga ito—kahit ano pa man ang maging dahilan. Kailangan ng makatao at patas na pagtrato sa lahat—mayaman man o mahirap, may katungkulan man o wala,” De Guia added.
In closing, the CHR official stressed that government agents should abide by the laws, whether or not there is an ongoing pandemic.
“Kahit sa normal na sirkumstansya, ang pagpapanagot sa anumang paglabag ay dapat naayon sa kung ano lamang ang nararapat at nakatakda sa batas. Ang ating Konstitusyon na mismo ang nagsabi: ang gobyerno ang may pangunahing obligasyon itaguyod ang ating mga karapatan at kalayaan,” De Guia said.
The barangay captain has since apologized for his actions.
The CHR recognized the erring official’s apology, but maintained that the incident is still under investigation by the CHR’ regional office. -MDM, GMA News