Mayor Bautista denounced for circumventing TRO on curfew

Youth group Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) assailed Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista for what they called was his ‘blatant and malicious attempt to circumvent’ the recently issued temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court on Ordinance No. 2301, or the Quezon City Discipline Hours for Minors.

In a live interview with dzMM last Tuesday, Bautista was reported to have said that, “Kung meron silang barangay ordinance, kaya nilang i-enforce ‘yun, ‘di sila dapat matakot. Kasi the Supreme Court only issued the TRO to the city ordinance, not to the barangay ordinances”.

When host Karen Davila clarified this with the three-term Mayor, Bautista repeated his same statement.

Besides Bautista’s apparent open defiance of the tribunal’s order, SPARK revealed that they have received information that legal maneuvers by the city government is currently underway to skirt the TRO.

The group claimed that anonymous yet sympathetic residents of Quezon City warned them that the Barangay Operations Center of the city government have contacted Barangay secretaries and other local officials inquiring about the status of their village ordinances and ordering them to implement it promptly.

The activists revealed that if there is none, they were instructed to immediately draft an ordinance and prioritize its inclusion in the next session of the barangay council for its speedy approval.

“Bautista and his minions in City Hall deserves nothing less of their highest condemnation, their deliberate and malicious maneuvers are tantamount to undermining the authority of the Supreme Court. Is this the sort of public officials that boasts to discipline the youth,” SPARK Spokesperson Joanne Lim insinuated.

“In the guise of protecting children and the youth and establishing peace and order, Mayor Bautista’s fixation cannot lord over our constitutionally guaranteed rights, this is precisely our motivation why we sought the High Court’s intervention in the first place, she added.

Meanwhile, Atty. Jesus Falcis, legal counsel of SPARK said that he finds Bautista’s statement ‘troublesome’ because it was issued by the Mayor himself in a phone-patch interview.

“Mayor Herbert Bautista’s claim that barangays can still implement their own barangay curfew rules is very troubling and worrying. He is promoting a clear and sneaky circumvention of the TRO issued by the Supreme Court by saying the city won’t implement curfews but the barangays can still implement their own.”

Falcis also clarified that, “If a city does not have the power to implement curfew, more so its component barangays under the direct control and supervision of the city government”.

Lim also took a swipe at Congresswoman Beth Herrera of Bagong Henerasyon partylist who recently told reporters that, “It’s an ordinance, it should be honored hindi siya puwedeng i-TRO ang tagal-tagal na niyan”.

“We are aware that the TRO does not satisfy all sectors of society, but coming from a lawmaker who brandishes her arrogance and ignorance of laws is truly unbecoming of her to represent the ‘bagong henerasyon’.

Herrera announced that she is currently crafting a bill to implement a nationwide curfew. She explained the need for a uniformed curfew system nationwide which entails the same penalties and same hours of curfew.

“The answer to the root causes of petty crimes and rebellious youth are not more restrictions and harsher punishments but a government that truly champions the welfare and rights of the country’s young. This can only be done by a holistic approach – providing free and accessible education for all, equal opportunities for work and livelihood and draconian measures against the syndicates that exploit the youth”.

“Sadly, its absence or lack thereof is substituted by coercion and fear by shameless politicians,” Lim articulated.

SPARK together with Atty. Falcis are expected to file a motion for clarification with the Supreme Court at the soonest possible time to prevent a circumvention of the TRO.