MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday called on the Supreme Court to investigate an incident involving a local judge who allegedly helped a purportedly drunk cab driver evade complaints for assaulting a police officer.
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año asked Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta to probe a certain judge who allegedly bullied and shouted at police officers at the Baguio City Police Station to secure the immediate release of the taxi driver.
The DILG chief said, “There is a proper forum to secure the release of the suspect and that is not the police station.”
“He must wait for the police to process the case, the prosecutor to file charges against the suspect and for the case to be raffled to his sala before he can assume jurisdiction. The said judge has to follow the law, just like all of us,” he said.
“As guardian of the law, a judge must serve as an example in following the law and not in breaking it,” he added.
On Tuesday, internet user Jemar Skylar Pimentel posted a dashcam video showing a police officer, identified as Patrolman Julius Walang designated at the Baguio City Traffic Enforcement Unit, almost got run over as he tried to stop a cab driver who committed a traffic violation.
Walang accosted the cab driver and tried to issue a citation ticket for causing traffic along Abanao Street in Baguio City.
But instead of stopping, the taxi moved towards the police officer who had to cling onto the cab’s hood to prevent him from fleeing.
ayu imbag ta nalaing dytoi pulis nga nsan q… salamat sa kuha ng DASHCAM from #PONGTAO DASHCAMPosted by Jemar Skylar Pimentel on Tuesday, 31 December 2019
The cab driver, identified as Jone Dominguez Buclay, was later on brought to the police station and was determined to be under the influence of alcohol.
During Buclay’s detention, police officers on duty claimed that a judge suddenly barged into the police station, intimidated and shouted at them without even asking what really transpired in the incident.
The judge was also allegedly seen leaving the premises of the police station together with the taxi driver-suspect.
Año said the judge’s disregard of the law and use of the “padrino system” should never be tolerated and is very unbecoming of him as an arbiter of the law.
He also expressed hope that the SC would help them in investigating the judge.
“Sana ay matulungan tayo ng SC at maimbestigahan nila agad ang asal ng judge na ito,” he said.
“We should not let these people get away with abuse of power in our country,” he added.
In response to Año’s call, the SC’s Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) said it is now checking the case.
“The OCA is already looking into this issue,” Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said in a message to reporters Thursday.
“We would like to get all available information before we require the concerned judge to comment,” he added.
Meanwhile, the DILG commended the police officer for “bravely enforcing the law at the risk of his own life.”
“Salamat, Patronman Julius Walang, sa tapat at walang takot na pagtupad sa iyong tungkulin. Kailangan natin ng mga pulis na katulad mo na hindi nagdadalawang-isip na itaya ang buhay para sa tawag ng tungkulin. Mabuhay ka!,” Año said.
“May you be an inspiration, not just to the police officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), but to all of us in law enforcement as we perform our duty on a daily basis,” he added.
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