'I am a thief': Mayor forces man who stole fish to wear sign taped to his shirt
A Philippine mayor who forced a man to parade in public with a sign saying he stole fish was denounced by the government's rights body yesterday amid online outrage.
In a clip shown by local ABS-CBN television and uploaded on YouTube, the unidentified man had his hands bound behind his back with a bag of dried fish hanging from the knot, and a sign stating "I am a thief" taped to his shirt.
A group of men identified by the network as local government security personnel laughed at and taunted the bound man, forcing him to kneel in front of a fishmonger to ask for her forgiveness.
"There is a clear, gross violation of human rights here," said Commission on Human Rights chief Loretta Ann Rosales.
"While he was not physically harmed, he was treated with indignity and psychologically punished," she added. "Only the court can determine guilt and punishment. There was no due process."
Rosales said Mayor Thony Halili should be investigated for abuse of power for his role in allegedly ordering the "shame campaign".
The mayor - who could not be reached for comment yesterday - has told another Manila television network, GMA, he had ordered the public shaming.
"He is a recidivist. I had no other way of making him stop other than shaming him," Halili added.
The controversy came just days after the United States criticised the Philippines for failing to curb human rights abuses, which it said included extrajudicial killings and abuse of power.
Rosales demanded that the video be taken down from the mayor's official Facebook page. It has been shared over 1,000 times.
On YouTube, the video drew angry comments. "This type of barbarity still with us? A shame," said one user.