Philippines; Government Human Rights Watchdog Says Philippine National Police Must Follow Existing Law and Rules of Engagement Covering Arrest and Search Warrants

Images released by the PNP show mugshots of Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog- Echavez (left) and her brother Reynaldo Parojinog Jr. taken during booking procedures at Camp Crame last Tuesday.

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) yesterday reminded the Philippine National Police (PNP) to comply with the existing rules of engagement covering arrest and search warrants.

“There are set procedures on how to legally and validly serve warrants of arrest or search warrants,” CHR commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said when asked about the statement of PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa that there will be more to come after the deadly raid in Ozamiz City that killed the mayor and 14 others last Sunday.

Gana, who heads the CHR task force on extrajudicial killings, said they would also look at the raid that resulted in the death of Ozamiz City mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife Susan, two siblings and 11 others.

“We are still awaiting the report of the police on how the operation was done,” the CHR official said.

“The CHR is mandated to look into how the ‘duty bearer’ – the police in this case – did their job, that is whether the operation was done legitimately and whether due process was observed,” she added.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia earlier said the commission has already started its investigation on the incident.

“No conclusions yet at this time, but the purpose of the investigation is to determine if protocols were followed in the implementation of the search warrant and use of deadly force,” added De Guia.

Several lawmakers, including Liberal Party president and Sen. Francis Pangilinan, expressed doubt that due process was followed in the raid.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said it would not meddle in the investigation of the CHR.

President Duterte earlier tagged Parojinog and his daughter, arrested Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez, as among the narco-politicians in the country. The Parojinogs denied the allegation.

Human rights advocates have assailed the credibility of the police account of the recent killing of the mayor of Ozamiz.

Human Rights Watch said even Pangilinan questioned why the raid occurred at 2:30 a.m. and why police “paralyzed” close circuit television cameras in and around the Parojinog residence, which could have provided visual evidence of how the operation unfolded.

On the other hand, Parojinog’s daughter Nova accused the policemen of planting drugs at the scene.

Phelim Kine, deputy director of Human Rights Watch-Asia Division, said that police killings of two other city mayors implicated in drug trafficking have also raised questions about police methods and accountability.

In October 2016, police killed mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao in a similar shootout.

On Nov. 5, 2016, police shot dead Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte in what police described as a firefight in his cell after he brandished a concealed pistol. Espinosa had surrendered to the police following public accusations by Duterte that he was a drug trafficker.

Both the National Bureau of Investigation and the Senate concluded the police officers had committed “premeditated murder” in the Espinosa case.

Despite that ruling, earlier this month, the 18 officers implicated in Espinosa’s death returned to work.

United Nations human rights experts urged the government to immediately act on the increasing reports of human rights violations, including murder, threats against indigenous peoples and the summary execution of children.

“Attacks are spiraling against many groups in society and we are making an urgent appeal for government action,” said a joint statement issued by Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children.

The experts highlighted numerous killings and extrajudicial executions of villagers, farmers and human rights defenders seeking to protect the ancestral land of lumad indigenous peoples against businesses.

Noy wants Ozamiz probe

Former president Benigno Aquino III expressed belief the killings in Ozamiz City must be investigated because of the number of casualties during the series of raids.

He also called on authorities to determine whether the current strategy being employed in the drug war could really be effective, since the surveys would show the same number of drug users in the country from the time he stepped down until now – which was 1.8 million to 1.3 million.

Aquino told reporters after the mass held for the 8th death anniversary of his mother Corazon, also a former president and democracy icon at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, that it did not seem feasible to gun down all of those in the houses of the Parojinogs without the raiding team getting hit, since there were only 16 of them while the number of those killed was 15.

He said there could be different treatments for a problem but the question at the end of the day should be: “Has anything changed? There should be a change.”

Aquino said during his time, they tried their best to follow the processes of case build up, gathering of evidence and prosecution of suspects.

He said no matter how successful an operation was, there should be a review of what could be improved, especially when people got killed.

Aquino also stressed they did try their best to curb illegal drugs during his time, along with the many other problems they had to deal with.  – With Aurea Calica, Rhodina Villanueva, Pia Lee-Brago


Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo


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One Response to “Philippines; Government Human Rights Watchdog Says Philippine National Police Must Follow Existing Law and Rules of Engagement Covering Arrest and Search Warrants”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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