MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it welcomes any investigation on accusations of human rights violations supposedly committed by police personnel during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) guidelines.
“As I have said, all those who are accusing the PNP that we have committed many cases of human rights violations, we are open to a (full investigation),” PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa said in a virtual press briefing.
This comes in the wake of recent incidents such as the fatal shooting of former Army Cpl. Winston Ragos at a quarantine checkpoint in Quezon City, the altercation between a foreigner and police officer in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City, and the incident where police officers allegedly shouted at residents of a condominium in Taguig City for supposed social distancing violations.
Gamboa, however, reminded police officers manning the checkpoints to respect the rights of the people.
“On our part, we keep on reminding our policemen and if ever there is an incident that transpired, we will have an impartial investigation…” he added.
He said M/Sgt. Daniel Florendo, the suspect in Ragos’ killing, is now under restrictive custody while the action of Senior M/Sgt. Roland Madrona in dealing with Spanish national Javier Parra was justified.
As a non-violative option, the PNP is considering the use of tasers in Quarantine Control Points (QCPs).
Procurement of the said equipment is under evaluation of the Directorate for Logistics, Gamboa pointed out.
“Yes, it’s part of the plan of the PNP. We call that non-violent or those equipment other than the firearm. Aside from tasers, there is this equipment that will gather people using a machine. All of these things are being evaluated by the Directorate of Logistics under the procurement management community who deliberates on what to procure,” he added.
In response to the national government’s actions to contain the pandemic, the PNP has laid down plans to implement the general community quarantine and extended enhanced community quarantine in some areas in the country.
“A newly-crafted PNP action plan is out of the drawing boards that will strategize police operations and administration in response to the extension of ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and selected provinces and cities across the country and as well as to all the others areas under the General Community Quarantine or what we shall henceforth come to know as the new normal,” he said.
He encouraged the public to remain mindful of minimum standards on physical or social distancing, especially in those areas under GCQ with relaxed quarantine measures.
Gamboa also said that based on their assessment since the ECQ was implemented on March 17, there has been a significant decrease in the number of violators particularly during the period of the first extension on the third and fourth week of April.
“These are encouraging signs of how the people will eventually adapt to the “new normal”, he said.
As they take a proactive stance on another ECQ extension, Gamboa said he already instructed the PNP Unit commanders to optimize rotation of personnel to make sure that they get enough rest and are well prepared for front-line duties. (ia/PNA)