Three women and a minor were arrested following a heated exchange between the residents of Nagkakaisang Residente ng Maysapang Homeowners Association (NRMHOA) and police elements police along with the security guards from Jericko Security Agency of R-II Builders on November 26 in Maysapang, Brgy. Ususan, Taguig City.
The incident started when guards and policed entered the community. Guards accused a resident of threatening them with a bolo knife days before, and the police used the information to go to the community and search the houses without a warrant, residents said. The guards also tried to dismantle a gate in the community amid protest of residents. Guards then grabbed some residents, including minors, that residents tried to pry from the guards. A warning shot was fired.
Rose Marie Olacao, 21; Maria Theresa Baltar, 30; Katrina Pagtama, 34; and Shynie Rose Canoos, 16, were first brought to the barangay hall in Ususan but were eventually escorted to Southern Police District Station 6.
Canoos was then released after confirmation that she was a minor, while the other three are currently detained in Taguig City Police Station.
According to NRMHOA board member Girly Caduco, the commotion began around 11:00 am when the guards forcibly entered and surveyed the area in Pascual Compound.
The said compound included in the area of Maysapang which was ravaged by fire last November 1 due to an explosion of a defective liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) affecting at least 19 families. Eight houses completely burned.
Threats of land-grabbing, eviction, demolition, along with series of harassment and physical violence have been experienced by the residents of Maysapang since 2015.
Illegal search conduct
“Pumasok nalang ‘yong mga gwardya at sinita naman na sila ng residente ro’n kung bakit sila pumasok at nagpipicture. Hindi naman kumibo ang gwardya at umalis. Mahigit isang oras ay bumalik na sila at may kasama pang pulis,” Caduco narrated.
Since the fire incident in Pascual Compound, the guards kept on returning to take pictures, and this has since created unrest in the area. Residents said that the guards even forcibly remove the tent and other materials that they use for roofing from rain and other weather confitions
“Tuwing naglalagay ng trapal na panangga sana ulan ay pilit na kinukuha pa ng mga gwardya nang walang pasabi, basta nalang nila babaklasin. Wala silang pakialam kung may natutulog na bata, wala silang pakialam kung may nagpapahinga na nakasilong sa ilalim ng trapal,” Caduco added.
By the time the guards arrived along with some police personnel, the guards were carrying a hammer and immediately went inside the compound to detach the metal gate which was intended for security and protection of residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The police then barged inside three houses without even presenting a search warrant upon the residents’ inquiry, said Caduco.
“Mayroon silang hinahanap, lalaking magbubuko na pinicturan ng gwardya noong nakaraang araw pa,” Caduco further shared.
[They were looking for a man selling coconuts since the other day.]
Caduco said the guards have shown a picture of the man to the police, alleging that the man was threatening them with a bolo knife. The police used the picture as evidence prior to their search conduct without the basis of search and arrest warrant.
The residents argued that the authorities were not able to present any legal documents such as any court order to remove their personal propery such as the gate and the illegal search among the three houses in the compound.
The man whom the guards were looking for is the husband of one of the detained individuals, Olacao.
The residents decried allegations the guards against her Olacao’s husband.
“Hanggaang sa kinakalad na ng gwardya ‘yong ilang menor-de-edad, kaya nangyari na ang girian, hablutan, pukpukan, at ang ginawa ng mga kababaihan ay kumuha na ng tubig dahil wala naman silang makita na gagamitin para pigilan ang nangyayari,” Caduco relayed.
A warning shot intensified the heightened commotion, according to the residents. Live videos of the encounter were uploaded in NRMHOA’s Facebook account.
‘Kinwestyon pa kami’
Among the arrested individuals was a 16-year-old minor, Shynie Rose Canoos, who sustained some injuries during the heated tension in Maysapang.
“Nagkaroon pa po ako ng sugat noong pagpukpok ng gwardya, umaawat po kasi ako. Noong hindi po niya ako mapigilan, parang nanggigil siya, pinukpok niya po ako ng hawak niyang bakal,” Canoos stated.
Canoos lamented the various physical harm inflicted by the guards and the police.
“Nagkaroon ng pananakal, pagtulak, pagpukpok sa kamay. Tapos naninikmura pa sila ng menor de edad,” Canoos added.
In one of the recorded video footage the residents recorded, a minor was being choked by the police whom they called Dugong. When asked what led to that incident, the minor said that he only stood between the police trying to arrest his brother.
Because of the series of harassment marred with physical violence sustained by several residents of Pascual Compound in Maysapang, the police requested for them to report it to the barangay, but prior to this was a scene with several police reading them their Miranda rights.
There were already blotter cases filed by the residents to the barangay hall in Ususan against the guards from Jericko Security Agency in view of the harassments and chaos they instigated.
“Noong una, sinabi na sumama nalang daw po kami para magbigay lang ng statement na ganito nga raw po ang nangyari, na nasaktan kami. Pagdating pa namin sa barangay eh kinwestyon pa kami kung bakit doon kami diniretso kasi hindi pa nga raw tapos ang isang problema eh ganito na naman ulit. Kaya hayun, pinadiretso na kami sa police station,” Canoos shared.
The women were instead blamed and scolded upon reaching police station in Ususan.
“Pinagalitan pa kami sa police station kesyo kababae raw po naming tao e ang tapang namin, eh syempre po alangan namang saktan lang kami nang gano’n?” Canoos firmly stated.
Meanwhile, the women were all dumbfounded upon finding out that they were being charged over allegations of direct assault, unjust vexation, and public scandal while they were probed in the police station.
At first, Canoos said that the police officers did not believe she was only a 16-year old minor. She was included among the women who have been taken of their mugshots in view of the presented charges.
The three were immediately turned in to get their medical and went to the Taguig Police Station where they have been handcuffed. Canoos, on the other hand, stayed in the Southern Police District waiting for her legal papers confirming that she was in fact a minor.
At around 5:00 pm, Canoos was freed.
Home for decades
Caduco affirmed that several residents of NRMHOA have long been settling in the area of Maysapang since 1986.
“Ang lagi lang nilang banggit sa amin ay ayaw na ng may-ari, kukunin na ng may-ari. Gano’n lang. Kami ang occupants since 1986 pa, nandito na nakatira ang aming mga magulang at kami rin ay dito na lumaki. Kaya naniniwala kami na ang lupang ito ay wala pa man ang BCDA na nagke-claim ng lugar na ito ay nandito na kami,” Caduco emphasized.
Aside from the harassment, R-II builders through the guards from Jericko Security Agency prohibit the entering of materials the residents are to use for housing repair and developments.
“Ngayon ay sabi nila, pag-aari raw ito ng mga R-II Builders, eh wala naman silang maipakita sa aming dokumento. Basta ang malinaw, ay hinaharass kami rito nang walang papel na ipinapakita sa amin lalo na sa pamunuan namin,” Caduco added.
Furthermore, the residents believed that the fire incident prompted R-II Builders to take opportunity prior to the loss of their houses and properties.
On November 2013, R-II Builders/MGS Consortium won the lease sales in a bidding put up by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) which included the 5.2 hectares of Brgy. Ususan in Taguig City.
R-II Builders is a construction firm company owned by Reghis Romero who also owns the Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc. in Manila.
Of the 5.2 hectares that the BCDA put up for lease, the 3.7 hectares lived more than 500 families of Maysapang.
Last 2004, the local government of Taguig City issued the Resolution 107 series of 2004 supporting the demand of Maysapang residents to acquire the land.
The NRMHOA also found out from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that the area of which the residents are settling is comprised in the Executive Order (EO) No. 465 released on October 3, 2005 declaring that the portions of property the BCDA owns is intended as socialized housing sites.
On the other hand, according to Caduco, the residents of Maysapang should not be blamed as though they have only learned the violence from authorities reinforcing their power through the use of force.
“Hindi po ninyo masisisi ang mga kababaihan dito na sa ganitong pagkakataon ay natututo na silang lumaban sa mga alagad ng batas dahil hindi lang isang beses, marami nang pagkakataon na mas pinapaburan itong mga gwardya kaysa sa amin na mas kami ang nahihirapan at naaagrabyado,” Caduco said.