MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Raffy Tulfo grilled a mall security chief on Monday over the interrogation methods he used on a female cashier accused of theft.
The security chief, Juanito Tanudtanud, who works at Landmark Makati “shamed” the cashier, who went short on her remitted sales, by getting into the status and personal details of her family, Tulfo said at the hearing the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.
The cashier aired her grievances in social media posts that went viral. She said she was being blamed for not remitting the amount in her total receipts. But she said the money was not counted in front of her.
“When she was accused of being short [in her remittance] of the money in the register, she was accused of stealing,” Tulfo told Tanudtanud at the hearing, speaking in Filipino.
“When you were investigating her, you shamed her, even about her being poor. And you included her family and her child in your investigation. Is that how you conduct an investigation? You shame a person for being poor, for having a child, so that she will have to steal? That she is immediately your suspect because of her situation?”
In response, Tanudtanud related in Filipino what she told the cashier: “Why are you short of almost P5,000?”
He said the cashier was silent. So he went on, saying: “So let’s put it this way. Landmark is kind. It’s not our job to destroy anyone’s name here. Just tell the truth and that will be okay. If shoplifters who are caught are let off, why not us here?”
Tanudtanud said he kept repeating that same message.
But he admitted that he did ask the cashier about her relatives, marital status, and whether she had a child.
‘What’s their relevance?’
Tulfo interrupted, saying: “What do the mother, live-in partner, and other relatives have to do with her being short? What’s their relevance? Is that how you were taught to investigate? In the first place, what are your credentials? What’s your qualification for being an investigator?”
In the same hearing, two other cashiers who were present as resource persons complained that money channeled through their checkout counters were also not counted in front of them, with shortages being reported just days after.
Both work at other Landmark branches.
Regina Lomerio, one of the cashiers, said that the amount of ‘shortage’ is then deducted from their salaries. She also claimed that this practice of not counting money in their presence was unique to the said department store, adding that she had worked for many stores before.
‘Respect their rights’
Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, a committee member, urged Tanudtanud to look after the welfare of employees too.
Dela Rosa, a former national police chief, said that the mall security officer should remember the Miranda rights and refrain from considering a suspect outright guilty.
He said those in the higher ranks should consider the welfare of those in the lower ranks.
“Again, respect their rights… Don’t use a style like that, Mr. Tanudtanud, that you insist: ‘Just confess. Just confess.’ I don’t think that’s right,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino.
“If you consider that employee as a suspect in whatever crime […] always remember: ‘You have the right to remain silent, you have the right to have an attorney or counsel of your own choice. Everything you say might be taken against you in the court, used against you in the court of law.’ That’s how it should be,” he added.