Members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Monday, March 6 arrested buko vendor Romnick Relos, who was mauled by MMDA personnel last week when he refused to give his cart. This is after the authorities learned that he is a suspect in a murder in Masbate back in 2007. Watch the video of his arrest below.
As you can see, Relos is handcuffed and inside a van while MMDA Chairman Danny Lim explained to him that it is the job of the MMDA to remove the sidewalk vendors like him as part of their program to reduce the obstructions in Metro Manila. The viral buko vendor did not speak, and someone can be heard saying that he will be given a lawyer.
And although no further details about Romnick Relos as a murder suspect have not yet been revealed as of posting, MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago said in a Facebook post that his two brothers were also arrested for the said crime. Meanwhile, three MMDA men who were involved in mauling the buko vendor have been suspended.
In a statement, acting MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said on Monday that three members of the Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group (SCOG) are now under preventive suspension for 15 days after they were seen in a video mauling Relos last Friday, March 2, and even tied him after he fought back when they confiscated his coconut cart.
According to a certain Mhean Capaycapay of Pasay City who uploaded the video, she understands that it is illegal to sell buko on the streets. However, she emphasized that the MMDA men have no right to hurt him. The netizen added that the buko vendor was willing to transfer to another place and that he begged them not to take his coconut cart.
As a defense, Francis Martinez, head of the MMDA’s metro parkway clearing group on Saturday said that his men repeatedly asked Relos in the past not to sell coconut on that area but he kept on coming back. He added that the buko vendor was the first to be violent when he threw ice to his men, and therefore they had no choice but to control him.
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