Group decries 'harassment' of Cavite police

MANILA (Updated) -- A human rights group said it will file charges against police personnel of Cavite after some of the group's members were allegedly harassed in the province on August 16.

The group Karapatan said 28 of its members were aboard a bus from Tagaytay City to Manila on Thursday afternoon when they were harassed by armed cops.

Around 2 p.m., the human rights workers were "arbitrarily stopped and held" allegedly by four policemen of the Cavite along Tagaytay Road in Silang, in front of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Academy.

"This is sheer harassment. The four-man team was not able to show us any written order nor give a reason, valid or not, why they stopped us," said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan's newly elected secretary general, who also claimed that the four policemen were armed with M-16 rifles.

The group said its members were held by the police for thirty minutes.

It said the four policemen were with family names Sanchez, Alcaraz, Nolasco and Manalo.

Palabay also said that when the police team was calling the headquarters through a handheld radio, they heard a man's voice at the other end ordering to "investigate and take pictures or video references" of the human rights workers.

"They insisted they only received orders to stop us but had to ask their headquarters for the reason why," said Palabay.

In a text message to Sun.Star, a source from the Cavite police said they have not received any report from the subordinate stations regarding the incident.

Sun.Star also tried to call the Cavite police through mobile phone and landline, but to no avail.

Karapatan is an alliance of individuals, groups, and organizations promoting human rights protection in the country. The group recently held its Fourth National Congress, which was attended by the 28 members who were allegedly harassed by the police.

According to the group, there were 19,325 victims of threat, harassment, or intimidation from June 2010 to July 2012. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)
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