A supermarket clerk is currently behind bars for stealing a can of corned beef worth 31 Philippine pesos ($0.62) in the Philippines.
Paul Mathew Tanglao, 21, reportedly took the can from the store’s warehouse and hid it in his apron because he was hungry, reports Inquirer.net. Tanglao was arrested on Sunday and is now detained at Manila Police District’s Santa Ana station.
The employee is facing a charge of qualified theft, an offense committed when someone steals from another person who provided him trust and confidence. The penalty for qualified theft can be higher by two degrees than normal theft, which means Tanglao faces a month to two years in jail.
A security guard reportedly saw Tanglao taking the can at around 5:40 p.m. and reported it to the store’s management. A supervisor then asked a cashier to file a complaint against the suspect. According the report, the supermarket proceeded to file charges despite efforts of the police officers to convince it to let the man off from the otherwise petty offense.
The unidentified supermarket is described to be part of one of the Philippines’ largest mall chains.
Filipino netizens expressed disappointment over the case, with many pointing out the state of social justice in the country.
“I know that what this clerk did is wrong. But our system of jailing a hungry clerk but letting executives and politicians who steal Millions of pesos from public coffers to walk away free seems to make this wrong in so many levels,” one commenter pointed out.
“And I also wonder, does the ‘Mall chain’ honestly pay its ‘right’ taxes? If not, we must jail the owners too.
“In my opinion, if its food stolen, it should be exempt from jail,” wrote another. “I cant understand how the supermarket owner would even go to the extent of having this person jailed. Only hungry people will steal food.”
Image via U.S. Air Force / Senior Airman Zachary Hada