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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Seares: Police has human rights office and Internal Affairs: do they work?

LITTLE is known about the Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) of the national police. Less is heard about it, especially now with the raging national controversy over illegal executions of crime suspects.

HRAO watches out for violations of the Constitution and the laws by PNP personnel. IAS or Internal Affairs Service, which then presidentiable Grace Poe wanted to be independent, investigates police misconduct.

In 2010, HRAO published "Know Your Rights: A Citizen's Primer on Law Enforcement." Thorough and specific, in clear and plain English, the handbook lists as sources the Constitution, laws and PNP orders.

The primer, along with (1) "PNP Operational Procedures (POP) Manual" and (2) "Manual of Illegal Drugs Operation & Investigation" (both released also in 2010), cover situations in law enforcement.

Awkward

Has HRAO closed shop since the anti-drug war and its bloodbath started?

With the long list of concerns of PNP about human rights -- as granted by Constitution, laws and government pacts with the international community --and a drug war "spiraling out of control," can HRAO function when many government leaders scoff at human rights?

As to Internal Affairs, named after those tough police units in the U.S. that weed out bad cops, does it still look into each wounding or killing in a police operation?

One PNP manual says IAS shall investigate even a simple gun firing during police duty. When the shooting results in bodies piling up, surely they must have been prompted to check.

And was each killing the result of unlawful aggression from crime suspects, most of whom were cuffed or tied, as PNP officials would like the public to believe?

It must be awkward, if not absurd, how HRAO's and IAS's work may have become.

(paseares@gmail.com)
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