By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Sixteen-year-old James, not his real name, was driving his motorcycle to buy food when he came across PO1 Jayrald Mañibo Jr., having a drinking spree with some of his friends. He never imagined his life would change overnight – James spent three days in a hospital bed after the beating he took from the drunken police trainee.
“I am hurting, of course. Why did he do this to my son?” Linda, James’ mother, told Bulatlat.com, “I want justice to be served. He is only a low ranking official but he is already abusive. Imagine what far worse abuses he would commit once he is promoted.”
James was on his way to buy tapsilog, a popular Filipino meal with beef, egg and fried rice, from a nearby store at around 2:30 a.m. of Oct. 14. On his way back, he noticed that Mañibo was drinking with some friends along their street.
“(Mañibo) stopped me and stepped on the front wheel of the motorcycle I was riding. He then placed his arm on the motorcycle’s headlight and asked me ‘Where did you come from?’ He asked his drinking buddies where I live then turned to me and asked me again, ‘Why are you so arrogant? You hit our table!” James quoted Mañibo as saying, in his affidavit.
James told Mañibo that he was far from their table. But he still apologized to the policeman. “He then removed his arm from the headlight and looked sideways. Then he punched me hard at the head, near my ears for more than six times. It was so hard that I felt I was losing consciousness. I lost my balance and fell on the ground but he continued to punch me.”
The mother of one of Mañibo’s drinking buddies saw what was happening and tried to stop the policeman. She brought him inside her house. But Mañibo still wanted to go inside the house.
“Fuck you! Why are you so arrogant? Do you want me to kill you here?” Mañibo was quoted as saying.
James somehow managed to escape. He later on asked for the help of on-duty police officers in their community precinct, who later on confirmed Mañibo’s identification.
Meanwhile, Mañibo said in media interviews that James really hit them. He showed them his wound, which he said was hit by the muffler of the motorcycle James was riding.
Linda said she is worried about her son’s health. After the beating incident, she said James always complained that he is not feeling well. On Sunday night, James told his mother that his head was hurting so bad. Once in a while, James would also throw up.
They brought James to a hospital near their community but then moved to Ospital ng Maynila the following morning. He spent three days there.
During those three days, James was not able to go through a CT scan, which could have been crucial to see if there are concussions, which resulted from the beating. His family, however, could not afford to bring him to a private hospital. James’ father is a construction worker who does not have a permanent job.
James family, through Akapbata Partylist, managed to hold a dialogue with Jay Dela Fuente, head of the City of Manila’s Department of Social Welfare and Development. James recounted what happened to him before Dela Fuente and the rest of the media who were present there. Dela Fuente, for his part, asked the Sta. Ana Hospital to look after James’ condition and has ordered a CT scan for him.
The family was told they have to wait for two weeks to get the result.
Linda said she is thankful to Akapbata Partylist for helping them in asking for assistance from the city government. She said she also appreciated the media exposure, hoping that it would help them in pursuing the case.
Lean Flores, spokesperson of Akapbata Partylist, said it is disappointing that the beating took place on October, which is children’s month. “We are holding series of campaigns to promote children’s rights and yet this is happening,” she said.
“Based from what Dela Fuente said, there are ‘a lot of similar cases’ that are happening,” she said, “These people belong to a profession who is mandated to protect the people, not violate their rights.”
Flores said that a lot of state security forces are seemingly not well informed of the rights of the children, adding that they need to be handled “calmly and delicately” to avoid traumatizing them.