The Batangas mayor who forced a man to walk in public with a sign saying he stole fish was denounced by the government’s rights body Wednesday amid online outrage.
“There is a clear, gross violation of human rights here,” Commission on Human Rights chief Loretta Ann Rosales told Agence France-Presse.
“While he was not physically harmed, he was treated with indignity and psychologically punished,” she added.
“Only the court can determine guilt and punishment. There was no due process.”
Rosales said Tanauan Mayor Thony Halili should be investigated for abuse of power for his role in allegedly ordering the “shame campaign.”
“He is a recidivist. I had no other way of making him stop other than shaming him,” Halili said.
Rosales demanded that the video be taken down from the mayor’s official Facebook page. By Wednesday, it had been shared over 1,000 times.
“He had been under surveillance for some time,” the Facebook message on the video link said.
On YouTube, the video drew angry comments.
“This type of barbarity still with us? A shame,” said a user identified as Cat Black. Other commenters accused the government of singling out petty criminals, while turning a blind eye to corrupt officials.
Malacañang on Wednesday said the way the case was handled was not part of the legal process.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told a Palace briefing that although he had a personal opinion on the matter, he will leave it up to the CHR to judge the mayor’s order.
“Certainly there are due pro–cess[es]that should be observed,” Lacierda said. “Does it fall also under the phrase under the Constitution—does it constitute cruel and just punishment? So these things have to be studied by the CHR.”
“But certainly this is not something that we do,” he further said.
AFP AND PNA