Baguio LGU mulls raps vs judge who allegedly interfered in drunk taxi driver’s arrest

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020   •   1133

MANILA, Philippines – The city government of Baguio on Friday said it is mulling over the possibility of filing administrative charges against a local judge who allegedly interfered in the arrest of a drunk taxi driver for purportedly attacking a police officer.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said they are studying lodging complaints against the judge, identified as Judge Roberto Mabalot of the Municipal Trial Court, Benguet Branch 1.

Magalong said a report forwarded to him by the Baguio City Police showed that Mabalot allegedly intimidated and shouted at police officers on duty to secure the immediate release of the taxi driver, identified as Jone Buclay.

“According sa report na binigay sa akin ng ating City Director na si Col. Allen Co, talagang nakialam si Judge Mabalot, in fact he acted like a private lawyer,” he said.

“The way it was explained to me, very intimidating siya and outright nailabas niya agad ung lasing na driver at naiparelease pa niya yung taxi,” he added.

On Tuesday, December 31, 2019, an internet user posted a dashcam video showing a police officer, identified as Patrolman Julius Walang designated at the Baguio City Traffic Enforcement Unit, almost run over as he tried to stop a cab driver who committed a traffic violation.

Walang accosted the cabbie and tried to issue a citation ticket for causing traffic along Abanao Street in Baguio City. But instead of stopping, the taxi moved towards the police officer who had to cling onto the cab’s hood to prevent him from fleeing.

Buclay was later on brought to the police station and determined to be under the influence of alcohol.

During Buclay’s detention, police officers on duty claimed that Judge Mabalot suddenly entered the police station and scolded them for detaining the cab driver for a traffic violation that only carries a fine as penalty.

A CCTV footage also captured Judge Mabalot arriving at the police station around 9:25 in the morning and exiting with the taxi driver in tow several minutes later.

“He was lawyering for the accused and, of course, naintimidate po ung ating mga kapulisan doon and from his own words sabi niya ay ‘fine’ lang kasi ang aanuhin,” Baguio City Police director Col. Allen Rae Co said.

“Ipinakita po ng ating kapulisan sa kanya yung positive result po nung alcohol breath test at umamin po ung tao (taxi driver) mismo na nakainom siya,” he added.

It was later learned that Buclay works for a taxi company allegedly operated by a relative of Judge Mabalot.

In a message to Magalong, the judge insists that he did not interfere with the case, and that he only acted on a request he received to check up on the taxi driver for an alleged violation of reckless driving.

“I declare that I did not at all interfere. The police will confirm this fact,” he said, adding that he only told cops that they cannot detain the driver as the penalty for reckless driving is only a fine.

He, however, did not state in his message on whether he was aware that the taxi driver had tried to run over a traffic law enforcer.

The Supreme Court’s Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), which supervises all judges and court personnel in the country, earlier said it is now checking the case.

“We would like to get all available information before we require the concerned judge to comment,” Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said.

Police said it will file multiple complaints against the taxi driver, including direct assault upon an agent of authority, resisting arrest and attempted homicide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Grace Doctolero)

Baguio City adds wearing of face shield to list of mandatory safety precautions

Marje Pelayo   •   May 10, 2021

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The Baguio City government made the wearing of face shields mandatory in all public areas in the city.

According to Baguio City Public Information Office (PIO)  Chief Aileen Refuerzo, the city’s legislative body has approved on final reading Ordinance No. 49, series of 2021, or the Face Mask, Face Shield Ordinance of 2021.

This amended Ordinance No. 45-2020 or the Face Mask Ordinance of 2020 in the City of Baguio by incorporating the face shield requirement.

According to the ordinance, aside from wearing face masks, the public is now directed to wear face shields as added protection against the deadly viral disease.

“Any person venturing outside the comforts of their respective abodes, or going to public buildings and places shall at all time wear face masks and face shields until the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is completely eliminated in the Philippines or during the State of Public Health Emergency,” the ordinance read.

The amended ordinance now also regulates the indiscriminate disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the city.

The new policy also emphasized that any person is not allowed to make business transactions without a face mask and face shield in public areas such as public markets, supermarkets, groceries, malls, shopping centers, banks, and in any offices of the government.

A “No Face Shield, No Face Mask, No Ride” policy will apply in all public transportation sectors.

The Baguio City PIO also posted on Facebook several exceptions in the implementation of the ordinance.

Posted by Public Information Office – City of Baguio on Sunday, May 9, 2021


Penalty for non-compliance in face mask order is P1,000 to P3,000 for first to third offense or cancellation of a business permit as appropriate.

Meanwhile, the penalties for not wearing a face shield and improper disposal of PPEs, discarded face masks, and face shields are P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second offense, and P2,000 for the third offense and cancellation of the permit as appropriate.

Contact tracing czar Magalong tests positive for COVID-19

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2021


Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong

MANILA, Philippines — Baguio City mayor and the country’s contact tracing czar, Benjamin Magalong on Saturday confirmed that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is with a sad note that I would like to inform everyone that as of my RT-PCR test conducted yesterday morning (April 2, 2021), to which my results came out at 4:30pm of the same day, I was tested positive of the Covid-19 virus,” he said in a statement.

He said contact tracing efforts are underway for those he had come into close contact with and advised everybody to observe the minimum health standards.

Magalong added that the news came out as a devastating blow for him and his family.

“The seriousness of this pandemic is something that we should not take for granted.  It is a difficult situation and I don’t want anyone of you to be in this condition as it is emotionally, psychologically and financially difficult for our loved ones to bear,” he said.

He assured however, that despite his current predicament, his team will continue to closely monitor the City’s situation and coordinate with proper authorities the necessary actions to be taken.

“Again, I am calling for everyone’s consideration to further observe protocols.  Let us do this for our family, our friends and everyone we care for,” the official said.


Baguio City, nagsagawa ng simulation sa proseso ng COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   February 15, 2021

BAGUIO CITY – Nagdaos ngayong Lunes ng simulation exercise ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Baguio City para sa proseso ng pagbabakuna kontra novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ito ang bilang paghahanda sa inaasahang pagdating ng unang batch ng COVID-19 vaccines sa bansa at pag-arangkada ng mass vaccination program ng pamahalaan ngayong buwan ng Pebrero.

Sa unang bahagi ng simulation, isinagawa ang vaccine transport procedure mula sa City Health Office sa T. Alonzo patungo sa vaccination area sa gym ng University of Baguio.

Walong minuto ang nai-record na oras ng paghahatid ng bakuna.

Sa ikalawang bahagi ng simulation ay inilatag naman ang pagkakasunud-sunod ng bawat phase ng proseso gaya ng paglalagay ng waiting area, registration, counselling, medical screening, at vaccination area sa itinakdang vaccination site.

Upang mapabilis ang proseso, kailangang dumaan sa online pre-registration ang mga magpapabakuna bago ang mismong araw ng immunization.

Pagkatapos nito ay dadaan sila sa counselling at screening para sa anumang impormasyon o katanungan ukol sa pagpapabakuna. Sa phase na ito rin maaaring hilingin sa mga magpapabakuna ang kanilang health status at iba pang bagay na kailangang dumaan sa beripikasyon.

Ipinakita rin ang mga panuntunan at prosesong dapat sundin ng mga magpapabakuna, bago at pagkatapos nilang maturukan, para na rin sa kanilang kaligtasan.

Tiniyak rin ng lokal na pamahalaan na may ilalagay silang standby medical at healthcare workers, pati na ng ambulansiya, sa post-vaccination area upang agad tumugon sa sinumang mangangailangan ng atensiyong medikal o kaya ay magkakaroon ng reaksyon sa tinanggap na bakuna.

Ayon sa lokal na pamahalaan, mahalaga ang pagsasagawa ng simulation upang ma-assess ang proseso at matugunan ang mga nasalungang isyu sa transportation at vaccination.

Ilan sa mga napansin nilang kailangan pang pagtuunan ng pansin ay ang sitwasyon ng mga persons with disabilities (PWD) na maaaring lumahok sa programa gayundin ang pagsasagawa ng sanitation sa bawat lugar.

Ayon kay Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, magagamit ang assessment ng evaluation team sa ginawang simulation upang mapag-ibayo pa ang kalidad at kahandaan ng Baguio City sa pagpapatupad ng COVID-19 vaccination program. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Marvin Calas)


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