THE Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) 7 yesterday conducted a forum where they discussed human rights concerns during police operations.
Atty. Arvin Odron, CHR 7 director, brought up the implications of having a reward system for every drug suspect killed in a legitimate operation and the bringing of funeral car during Oplan Tokhang.
“I have very high reservations on the reward system as well as the use of funeral cars. Because the reward system, this will encourage the police to use violence because it happened before that if the police will kill the suspect, they will be rewarded by the City Government P50,000 and if they only injured him, they will be given a minimum of P5,000,” he said.
As for the parading of a funeral hearse during Tokhang, or Toktok Hangyo, Odron said that this implies death, which is a form of violence as it is used to intimidate the suspected drug user and pusher, who are the targets of the program.
Ordon pointed out to Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo of the Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) of the national headquarters in Camp Crame that the police are tempted to kill criminals instead of arresting them because of the financial reward.
He said he was concerned by the pronouncement of PNP Director Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to kill persons who resist arrest and to make them resist if they don’t, as well as President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that he does not care about human rights.
Siervo, for his part, said they don’t implement “in toto” what the President declares in public unless there is a written order.
“Because orders that we will execute should be within the bounds of law. There are two forms of war. Yes, there is also a psychological war on this. Which do you want, to encourage them to surrender peacefully or you want it another way? Maybe the words will encourage them to surrender,” Siervo said.
He said that during every operation, they have data and figures to prove it is legitimate. They don’t investigate on mere allegations, he said.
Siervo said they don’t tolerate those who do not follow operation protocol, and cited some violators who have been charged in court.
Siervo said they are coordinating with the CHR on the guidelines on the implementation of a police operation.
According to Odron, a law enforcement agency like the police should follow a non-violent approach, based on human rights standards.
“The police should respect, protect and fulfill human rights,” he said.
Odron described yesterday’s forum as productive. It was attended by members of the judiciary and the religious sector, among others.