DAVAO CITY – Was the video showing Davao City Police Director Vicente Danao slapping his wife in a quarrel a private matter?
This was Danao’s defense after the video which was uploaded on YouTube generated criticisms on his actions.
The video was one minute eighteen seconds long, and showed Danao in a police SWAT shirt and dark shorts in a heated argument with his wife in a living room.
As the couple was screaming and kicking at a big balikbayan box that contained breakables, Danao closed in on his wife and slapped her twice over her head. But her wife parried the shots. The video ended with Danao shouting at his wife to leave the house.
Danao’s explanation to SunStar Davao quoted him that this was a “private matter”. “Which spouses hadn’t had a fight?” he added.
The police director also reportedly said his wife provoked him and slapped him first with the blue sneakers, that prompted him to react strongly.
But women rights advocates said Danao, the law enforcer, violated the law on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) or the Republic Act 9262.
Gabriela Women Partylist chair Luzviminda Ilagan, a Davao-based professor, said women violence there is no such thing as “private matter” in VAWC.
“Danao should know this because he is a law enforcer. In fact under the law, anybody can file charges against the perpetrator. Danao should be suspended for conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman,” Ilagan said.
Ilagan also does not accept Danao’s excuse that his wife first provoked him.
“It’s still not an excuse, even if there was a provocation. Real men do not use force against women,” the lawmaker said.
City Councilor Leah Librado also called for the police chief’s suspension to show the city’s seriousness in upholding the law.
“Suspending Danao is a strong statement that no one is above the law and a steadfast commitment of the city in upholding the rights and welfare of women,” the councilor said.
Librado added that Danao’s action tarnished his position as head of the city police.
“A law enforcer who is also a violator of the law has no moral ascendancy to serve justice and protect the people especially women and children,” she said.
Ilagan went further to suggest that City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should reconsider in retaining Danao as the city’s police director, a post he assumed since October 2013.
Mayor Duterte, however, was quoted in a local daily on Monday saying he is not concerned with Danao’s domestic problem, and would rather look at Danao’s performance as police chief in maintaining the city’s peace and order.
“Perhaps the mayor will realize Danao is not helping at all in maintaining Davao City’s gender sensitive image,” said Ilagan.
The city has implemented pro-women rights laws and programs with the lobbying of women
rights groups such as the Women Development Code and the Integrated Gender and Development Division to monitor women concerns in the city.
But in the IGGD report last year, around 54 cases of violence against women from 2004 to 2012 involved policemen. Eleven other cases involved soldiers and eight cases involving retired soldiers and police personnel.
The IGGD said these figures comprised two percent of some 4,700 cases. But Gabriela Southern Mindanao chair emeritus Lyda Canson said this figure is “very alarming”.
“Men in uniform are likely to commit VAW as a show of power and domination,” Canson was quoted in an interview.
IGGD head Lorna Mandin said they have held dialogues and lectures with the police on gender sensitivity and VAWC.
VAWC cases also include economic abuse such as abandonment and lack of financial support to wives or partners.
While the VAWC law will penalize offenders with stiff fines from P100,000 to P300,000, imprisonment and counselling, Ilagan said this will depend if Danao’s wife or family members will file charges against him.
Danao said he is ready to face charges and even administrative orders on this case.
“I will just follow orders,” Danao said. (davaotoday.com)