• ‘Bodily search’ is HMR policy

    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    AFTER the story of my encounter on October 10 with two security men of HMR Philippines-Santa Rosa City appeared in this corner on October 14, I continue to receive e-mails of sympathy for the humiliating experience I suffered. I cannot thank them enough for the encouraging words that they conveyed thru their e-mails.

    But one e-mail particularly interested me because the writer who identified himself as Joe Pascual narrated a sad story; his experience was probably worse than mine because he and his son were the victims.

    Do I doubt him? The answer is a big NO. Why would one write a fiction just to accuse HMR’s security personnel of harassing him and his son?

    “I am a regular at HMR Pioneer,” Mr. Pascual wrote. “It is the branch closest to where I live. The cashiers and the sales people recognize me as a regular.”

    Something shocking happened that he decided to e-mail this writer about the incident after reading my piece here. Part of his narration follows:

    “A couple of months ago while I was waiting for the cashier to finish ringing up my purchases, my twelve year old son decided to go ahead and head for the car.

    “He was accosted by the EXIT security guard and was bodily searched. My son quickly went to me and told me what happened. He felt it was wrong and unusual.

    “I then approached the guard and asked for an explanation and refused to let him bodily search me. The guard offered no other explanation other than the over-used “Company policy.”

    “There was a sign posted on the door about it, but it clearly was at the entrance door. I do understand the search upon entry for the safety of everyone.

    “I however do not take lightly the body search upon exit. I was quickly agitated with the explanation and how they were trying to dismiss my issues.”

    But to a parent, a child is a child to be loved and protected. Mr. Pascual saw to it that he acted like the true parent that he is.

    “I told him too that I do not take lightly strangers’ hands groping my 12-year-old son’s body,” he wrote. “It’s just not normal.”

    In concluding his letter, he said he has not returned to HMR Pioneer since then “so I do not know what changes they have done.”

    Unfortunately, Due Diligencer could help Mr. Pascual only in “retelling” his story only by publishing it here. There is no other way for him and other consumers to protect themselves from businesses that see only the peso signs in them; they can only ventilate their stories of harassment thru the media. Otherwise, their stories are bound to be forgotten and, as the saying goes, “charged to experience.”

    Yet, Mr. Pascual and I, and probably several others who have suffered from the bullying of businesses’ security guards but who preferred to remain silent can do more than airing grievances thru the media. The mode of getting back at them, however, is, in the meantime, premature for public consumption.

    I am sorry to admit here that in so many years that I have been covering big business, I have not written anything about THE consumers, who after all make small businesses grow with their continued patronage because consumerism and reporting about it has never been my forte.

    But, again in the many years that I have been writing about big business, I have yet to find one company that ACTIVELY operates a consumers’ complaints office. Probably some of them do but which I have failed to appreciate.

    Perhaps, the public can be made more aware of consumerism if regulatory agency such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will make consumers’ complaints against companies listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange required for disclosure under the market’s policy of transparency.

    How about non-listed companies? Well, the SEC may want to require the submission of the complaints against them and treat them as documents for filing as part of corporate files.



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    1 Comment

    1. Its your system in this country & its been used to keep the small man down. You need a government to make proper sensible laws for the people. Its a form of control & thats what they want in this country, they want control over you applying for jobs, for running a small business. Its strange how this guys son was searched yet i had a woman steal money from my house & the one thing the barangay, then the police in over 11 hours wouldnt do was search this woman. Maybe its because im a foreigner as if a pinoy steals from a foreigner its ok as he is rich, right. Your country need overhauling from the top to the bottom & until its done it will remain what it is. Laws in this country mean nothing to the individual they only apply to others.