CHR-Negros sees no malice in Silay police parade of COVID violators

BACOLOD CITY – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Occidental said that the parade of COVID-19 violators in Silay City was blown out of proportion when some described it as a parade of zombies.

Romeo Baldevarona, head of CHR-Negros, said they interviewed Police Major Rollie Pondevilla, chief of the Silay City Police Station, who told them that such activity was done in good faith.

The police station made headlines when a video showing 39 violators raising their arms forward while walking as if they were zombies from the police station to the covered court where a seminar was held to remind them about the strict observance of the health protocols amid the pandemic was posted on Facebook.

This caught the attention of the national CHR that pushed them to call for a probe.

Baldevarona said that the city police force has not anticipated that some have put malice on their action against the violators, who were caught not wearing face masks.

Pondevilla had earlier said that they are open for an investigation, claiming they had not violated any rights of the violators, whom they cannot all accommodate at the station due to the limited space.

Pondevilla also stressed that they were just reiterating to the violators the proper observance of physical distancing.

Baldevarona noted that it was good that the city police force conducted a seminar about the health protocols since some of them reportedly did not believe about the threat of COVID. “It was a proper way of handling the situation," he said.

He added that some were even thankful that they were not obliged to pay the corresponding penalty for violating the city ordinance and were just allowed to go home after the seminar.

Baldevarona said they have already investigated the matter despite no complaint was filed by one of these violators.