7 summoned for criticizing police on Facebook

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MAASIN CITY, Philippines—The police here apparently don’t take kindly to criticism, especially when it is posted on social networking sites.

The Maasin police chief “invited” seven Maasinhons to appear at the city police station on November 7 after they posted harsh comments on a Facebook page, criticizing the police for failing to stop four robberies that occurred in a span of 24 hours.

Superintendent Rico Tome said the invitation was not meant to scare anyone.

“We would just like to remind them that what they did was not right. We will just give them a warning,” he said. “It’s true that we have freedom of expression. Now that there’s Facebook—unlike before when it was only radio and newspapers—they could just say defamatory remarks against us. You know the law could run after them,” he said.

But not one of those “invited” showed up at the Maasin City police station on November 7, said Police Officer 3 Danny Araba.

Despite the apparent snub, he added, the police would not send another invitation.

Asked who the seven were, Araba said he could not remember the names.

P02 Darwin Orit, who delivered the invitations, said he could not remember the names either.

The invitation stemmed from comments posted on a Facebook page called “You are from Southern Leyte if…”  about the four break-ins on November 2 and 3.

The break-ins at Avon Cosmetics, Golden Financial and Visayas Armando Corp., which are located near each other in Barangay (village) Abgao, occurred early  Nov. 2.

About P300,000 in cash and checks were taken from Avon Cosmetics and P47,000 from Visayas Armando Corp. Nothing was taken from Golden Financial.

At least P3,000 was stolen in another break-in at Asian Pension Loan, which is next to the house of Maasin Mayor Malone Samaco, early in the morning of Nov. 3.

Adelle Ijao Geraldo made a post in the Facebook page “You are from Southern Leyte if…”  about the four robberies and asked the police, members of neighborhood watches called “tanods” and residents to be vigilant.

Her post generated 447 comments as of Nov. 8.

One comment by Michelle May Jechellehanmico read in Bisaya: “The police records will be filled with unsolved theft cases in our city. I am also a victim of theft but the police concluded that it was an inside job. I am not only the victim but also the suspect. The police did not investigate. DO YOUR WORK POLICEMEN!!!”

Red Guide also made a comment in Bisaya: “Policemen! You should do your work. You should not embarrass yourselves!!!”

Ganda Padilla-Ismael also commented that thieves also broke into her store but “those who were supposed to help were not able to help.”

The page, which has 10,732 members, is open to those who are connected to Southern Leyte either “by blood, by birth, with ancestral roots, business, work related, and willing to post responsibly.”

Tome admitted that he didn’t read the Facebook thread but his policemen said they were libelous.

“My men were even contemplating filing a case but I told them not to push through with it yet,” he said.

Tome said the 50 Maasin policemen could not be expected to be present every time a crime was committed.

He assured the public that the policemen were working hard to solve the break-ins, noting that break-ins have long been a problem in Maasin City. The police have leads on burglaries, Tome added.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ma.c.ragay Ma Cecinia Vallejera Ragay

    Mr. Tome should have read the FB thread of comments to be exhaustively informed; he should not rely on his police officers alone.  And it may be well to take those comments as lessons; ask themselves if there may be some grain of truth in them, and do something about those robberies. Time spent summoning these Maasinhons should have been spent investigating and resolving the crimes.

  • c7cinbox

    Tome admitted that he didn’t read the Facebook thread but his policemen said they were libelous.
    “My men were even contemplating filing a case but I told them not to push through with it yet,” he said.

    Sabihin mo sa mga pulis mo na ituloy na nila ang demanda ng libelo sa mga taong ito. Wag iyong puro dada lang. o, baka iyan lang ang kaya ng mga pulis mo. di ba dapat may kinalaman ka dito if we should apply the principle of “command responsibility”? Gaano ba kalaki ang maasin city at tila hirap na hirap ang mga pulis nyo na bigyan kalutasan ang mga nakawan na ito?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZKME5EXCJMYKLDSCJNQ2SVKHV4 John

    anopang ginagawa ng taumbayan? bakit di pa kaladkarin sa kalsada tong mga polis na tamad at mangmang na nga arogante pa.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZKME5EXCJMYKLDSCJNQ2SVKHV4 John

    Ang bobo mo naman Rico Tome! Sa halip na mag trabajo ka at pigilan ang nakawan kung saan ka binabayaran para mag trabajo, may time ka pa mang harass, mang invite ng mag criticise sa inyong mga polis. Kung di ka ba naman patulog tulog iho, di ka nila i criticize. pasalamat ka di kita abot ngayon kundi inginundngod na kita lalo a kung kamag nak ko ang ininvite mo. Ogag!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BUBQZZX75RSSBO7GUEVTI4NAIU Onel

    The law on libel (Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code) is not on the police’s side. The comments posted against the police are privileged in nature and, therefore, not libelous. Opinions and comments made against public officers, agents, and other persons under the employ of the Government are not libelous provided it was made in relation to the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. The law on libel should not be used to the detriment of public interest. This is supported by a ton of jurisprudence. In one case, the Supreme Court even said ‘public officers should not be onion-skinned’. The policemen are clearly ignorant on the crime of libel.

  • ApoNiLolo

    Anong akala ng mga pulis na’to, panahon pa ng Martial Law na takot ang taong bayan mag reklamo? May karapatan ang taong bayan na maging kritiko sa pamamalakad ng nasasakupan nyo kung hindi ginagampanan ng husto ang inyong mga tungkulin. Baka nakakalimutan ng mga pulis na’to kung saan nanggagaling ang pinapasweldo sa kanila.

  • KaAsar

    Bakit NAPAKABALAT-SIBUYAS at NAPAKAPIKON ‘yun pulis na ‘yun???? Ano ba ang tingin nila sa sarili nila?

  • indiosbravos2002

    Dapat nga hindi sila magalit kaya palpak sila. Dapat pa nga pagalitan sila ng mayor.

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