THE Philippine National Police (PNP) maintained Friday, March 22, that they are continuously monitoring and gathering intelligence information against the enemies of the state, as mandated by law.
“Following the pronouncements of the President (Rodrigo Duterte), the PNP will not cease performing our duty to uphold public interest and guard the state against the real enemies. It is also a function of the state to uphold public interest over and above specific rights and privileges enjoyed by individuals and groups to privacy and expression,” PNP spokesperson Colonel Bernard Banac said.
Banac made the statement amid claims of several left-leaning groups that the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are into partisan and political activities, system vilification and red-tagging of organization showing disagreement to the government.
The groups cited the incident in Aparri, during the campaigning of Gabriela party-list, where they claimed that state agents, in full combat gear, are taking pictures of the activities and were even tailing the candidates.
The groups said soldiers belonging to the 5th Infantry Battalion were distributing leaflets bearing actual pictures of Makabayan Bloc party-list candidates with "Huwag iboto ang partylist," "Kalaban ng gobyerno" and "Sila ay supporters ng CPP-NPA."
Banac said, though, that these are all normal operations of the PNP for the maintenance of peace and order.
“Ironically, these shadowy organizations are taking advantage of our democratic processes and built-in institutions to establish foothold in the influential legislative branch of government,” he said.
“It is the duty of the PNP to keep the public informed on matters of public safety and security against terrorist organization and domestic threat groups, including the support systems that sustain their terrorist activities,” Banac added.
Earlier, the PNP ordered the reshuffling of 1,370 police officers affiliated with candidates in the coming May elections to ensure they will not engage in any partisan activities.
The reshuffle includes 121 provincial directors, city directors, mobile force commanders, and chiefs of police who have reached the maximum two-year tour of duty in their assignments.
The limited reshuffle of personnel is an administrative measure to ensure impartiality and non-partisan enforcement of the law by police personnel, particularly in areas where they have relatives running for local elective positions.
Meanwhile, AFP chief of the Public Affairs Office Colonel Noel Detoyato denied engaging in partisan activities, saying the accusation is only meant to tarnish the image of the law enforcement.
Detoyato said instead of throwing mud against the government, the left-leaning groups should concentrate on convincing the voters that they are not part of the group that wants to bring down the government through violent means. (SunStar Philippines)