PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar maintained on Tuesday, May 18, that it is not the practice of the police to “weaponize the law” especially against the state dissenters.
“I would like to assure the CHR (Commission on Human Rights) that the men and women of the police organization do not weaponize the law. It is not the PNP’s way to use the law to attack any citizen whom we are sworn to protect and serve. Our role is only to enforce what the law provides,” Eleazar said in a statement.
“Bawat kilos ng ating kapulisan ay dapat na naaayon sa batas dahil mawawalang saysay ang aming pagiging law enforcers kung kami mismo ay hindi sumusunod sa batas. Sinisiguro ko sa CHR na patuloy na gagampanan ng PNP ang mandato nito,” he added.
Eleazar made the statement amid claims that the law is being weaponized following the series of operations against loose firearms involving activist group members and leaders.
The CHR has asked the PNP to investigate the arrest of Anakbayan Naga City chairperson Sasah Sta. Rosa early this month for violations of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and Illegal Possession of Explosives.
Eleazar urged claimants to file complaints against the police if they think there is irregularity in the operations.
“Tuwing may police operations, partikular ang service ng search o arrest warrants, laban sa mga indibidwal na nagkakataon ay miyembro pala ng mga progresibong grupo halos inaasahan na namin ang laging kasunod na alegasyon na iligal ang aming operasyon o sila’y hinarass o tinaniman ng ebidensya. The PNP maintains that our men follow the police operating procedure in serving search or arrest warrants,” the PNP chief said.
“We have, in law, what we call the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties to enable us to effectively dispense our functions. This can only be overturned by clear and convincing proof to the contrary dahil kung hindi eh sigurado akong binaha na tayo noon pa ng samu’t-saring nuisance cases mula sa mga akusadong gusto lang makalusot sa kanilang krimen,” he added.
On February 28, a labor group leader was killed by unidentified men in Calamba, Laguna.
A week later, on March 7, amid the government’s intensified campaign against communism and insurgency, nine activists were killed in Calabarzon after allegedly resisting arrest while police were in the service of a search warrant over illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Groups rejected the police’s claim that they just fought back after the activists resisted arrest, saying it was intentionally done following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to kill armed New People’s Army rebels and ignore human rights.
On March 30, two farmers’ group leaders were arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in separate operations in Tarlac and Pampanga over possession of various firearms and explosives. (SunStar Philippines)