PNP, NBI to jointly probe, prosecute law enforcers’ violations in drug war ops

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2021   •   348

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have signed an agreement for cooperation in formal investigation of all police operations relating to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The PNP said the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the NBI was signed on Wednesday. PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar and NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor signed the agreement before the Department of Justice.

The four-page MOA serves as an authority for the two agencies “to build cases against PNP personnel who would be found violating the criminal laws in the conduct of operations against illegal drug personalities across the country.”

“The PNP and the NBI shall jointly evaluate the government’s anti-illegal drug operations, and, where necessary, determine possible criminal liability on the part of the police officers involved in these operations,” the MOA read.

“As state agencies, both parties seek to ascertain the truth regarding the allegations of human rights violations and possible criminal liability in the conduct of government’s anti-illegal drug operations,” it added.

The agreement emphasizes the commitment of the PNP and the NBI in supporting each other in terms of the following:

  • Sharing all documents, records and pieces of evidence relating to the police anti-drug operations;
  • Undertaking investigation, case build-up and the possible filing of criminal complaints against any police officer who would be found violating the laws.
  • Prepare a full and detailed report of all relevant findings and recommendations for submission to each counterpart head of agency
  • Designation of points of contact and representatives for ease of coordination

Under the Agreement, the PNP is expected to designate representatives from the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) and the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) and the NBI to name representatives from its Office of the Assistant Director for Regional Operations Service, Office of the Assistant Director for Investigation Service, Office of the Assistant Director for Intelligence Service, and the Office of the Assistant Director for Forensic Service.

The designation of the representatives must be done within 15 days after the signing of the MOA, the PNP said.

Representatives from both the PNP and the NBI will form the PNP-NBI Joint Investigation Team. Their meeting is set at least once a month.

“The signing of this Agreement is proof of the PNP’s commitment to transparency and accountability and in order to finally settle the allegations of human rights abuses that have been hounding the government’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs since July 2016,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Through this Agreement, we will be able to ferret out the truth and correct the wrong impression that all our operations relating to illegal drugs campaign are tainted with human rights abuse. Napakalaki ng sakripisyo ng ating kapulisan sa kampanyang ito at marami din kaming kasamahan na nagbuwis ng buhay at nasugatan sa aming mga operasyon,” he added.

For his part, Distor assured impartiality in the conduct of the investigation.

“The NBI shares the goal of the PNP to put an end to the illegal drugs problem in the country. We have been coordinating and working together to address this problem through joint operations and information sharing,” he said.

“We assure impartiality in the conduct of investigation and we are confident that this would finally address the concerns on the manner by which the government’s illegal drug operations have been undertaken and to correct what needs to be corrected in the interest of truth and justice,” he added.

At least 52 cases involving 154 police officers will be prioritized by the PNP-NBI Joint Investigation Team. Those cases were already reviewed by the DOJ and were recommended for further investigation and case build-up.

The criminal cases that may be recommended by the Joint Investigation Team are separate from the administrative cases that would be pursued by the IAS, the PNP said.

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COMELEC formally deputizes PNP, AFP for conduct of 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has formally deputized the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure the conduct of “free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible” May 9, 2022 national and local elections.

Under Resolution No. 10755 promulgated on Wednesday, January 19, the COMELEC listed the following duties and functions to be performed by AFP and PNP personnel as its deputized agents:

  • Provide security to polling places, polling centers/voting centers, canvassing centers, and such other places or buildings, including election paraphernalia, equipment, forms, and supplies, that will be used in connection with the elections;
  • Provide security to the personnel of the Commission, its deputies, and other persons performing election-related functions;
  • Deploy, at the least time possible, troops for election duty in coordination with the concerned Regional Election Director, Provincial Election Supervisor, and Election Officer;
  • Make available, at the least time possible, land, air, and watercraft assets, communication systems, and other equipment, in connection with the conduct of the elections;
  • Look into the existence of any armed group organized to commit, or which is committing or attempting to commit, acts of terrorism, or threats to intimidate or coerce any person to vote for or against a candidate, and to suppress or prevent said acts of terrorism or threats;
  • Assist the Commission in implementing more effectively election laws and/ or rules and regulations, particularly the laws governing prohibition against military, policemen and provincial guards acting as bodyguards or security guards for the candidates, the use of armored vehicles and air or watercraft, and the prohibition on bearing, carrying or transporting firearms and other deadly weapons in public places;
  • Provide security escorts to candidates, subject to the conditions and restrictions on the Resolution imposing the ban on the carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons and the ban on the use of security personnel or bodyguards; provided that, the AFP can provide security escorts only in the absence of personnel of the PNP and other law enforcement agencies;
  • Conduct a periodic assessment of the peace and order conditions in critical areas and recommend measures which may be adopted by the Commission in the interest of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections;
  • Comply with and/ or implement directives or resolutions of the Commission, which shall take precedence over and above the orders and directives issued by any other office or agency of the Government, except the Supreme Court and those issued in habeas corpus cases;
  • Render periodic reports on action taken in accordance with this Resolution

The poll body reminded that despite being deputized, soldiers shall continue with the conduct of all Internal Security Operations or its own functions and responsibilities and that no changes in the assignments of police personnel can be effected except upon prior written permission of the commission.

The resolution shall take effect after its publication in two daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines, the COMELEC said.

 

 

‘No vax, no ride’ policy may legal na basehan pero limitado ang pagpapatupad – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – May legal na basehan ang pagpapatupad ng “no vaccination, no ride” policy sa mga pampublikong sasakyan sa Metro Manila, ayon sa Department of Justice (DOJ).

Ang pagtatanggol sa polisiya ay ginawa ni DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra sa gitna ng mga pagtutol sa panuntunan ng Department of Transportation (DOTr) na nagbabawal sa mga hindi bakunado laban sa COVID-19 na sumakay sa mga pampublikong sasakyan kung walang maipapakitang dokumento o katunayan ng exemption.

Sa isang pahayag, sinabi ni Guevarra na ang “no vaccination, no ride” policy ng DOTr ay alinsunod sa Administrative Code (EO292) at batay sa Republic Act 11332 o ang batas na nag-oobliga sa pag-uulat ng notifiable diseases.

Aniya, sa ilalim ng batas ay may kapangyarihan ang pamahalaan na limitahan ang galaw ng mga hindi pa bakunado kung para ito sa interes at kaligtasan ng publiko.

“The state has the power to regulate the movement of unvaccinated persons if it deems that such regulation is in the interest of public health or public safety and is for the benefit not only of the vaccinated but also of the unvaccinated,” ani Guevarra.

“In short, a person may refuse to get vaccinated for his/her own personal reasons, but he/she is duty-bound to obey reasonable state regulations affecting unvaccinated persons for the benefit of society at-large,” dagdag pa niya.

Sinimulang ipatupad sa mga pampublikong sasakyan sa Metro Manila ang “no vaccination, no ride” policy noong Lunes, Enero 17.

Exempted sa panuntunan ang mga manggagawang papasok sa trabaho, may medical condition kaya hindi makapagpabakuna, mga kukuha o maghahatid ng essential goods at services at mga pasaherong naka-schedule na magpabakuna. Kailangan lamang nilang magpakita ng identification card, medical appointment at iba pang dokumento.

Maraming grupo ang kumukwestiyon sa nasabing polisiya na tinawag nilang “anti-poor” at “discriminatory” sa mga hindi pa bakunado, lalo na sa mga walang sariling sasakyan.

Pero giit ni Guevarra, hindi naman pinagbabawalang bumiyahe ang mga hindi pa bakunado dahil ang polisiya ay epektibo lamang sa public transportation, at may nakasaad ring exemption sa rule na ito.

“The unvaccinated are not absolutely prohibited from availing themselves of public transport, provided that they have passes to show that they are out to obtain essential goods and service, such as food and medicine; or that they have medical certifications showing that they could not be vaccinated for medical or health reasons,” ang paliwanag ng opisyal.

Binigyang-diin rin ng DOJ chief na tatlo sa apat na indibidwal na naoospital o kaya ay namamatay dulot ng COVID-19 ay hindi bakunado.

At bagaman common carrier o pampublikong sasakyan ay bukas sa lahat, may responsibilidad rin aniya ang mga nangangasiwa nito na ihatid ang mga pasahero nang ligas sa kanilang mga patutunguhan.

“Common carriers are indeed open to everyone, but under our existing laws operators of common carriers are bound to carry their passengers safely to their destinations, and ‘safely’ means freedom not only from accidental injury but also from transmissible diseases,” ani Guevarra.

Paalala rin ni Guevarra na time-bound lamang o limitado lang ang panahon ng pagpapatupad ng polisiya at hindi naman ito required sa iba pang lugar na mababa ang bilang ng mga nababakunahan kontra COVID-19.

Una nang sinabi ng DOTr na ang polisiya ay epektibo lamang habang nasa COVID-19 Alert Level 3 o higit pa ang Metro Manila. Batay rin anila ito sa resolusyong ipinasa ng konseho ng mga alkalde sa Metro Manila na naglilimita sa galaw ng mga unvaccinated person.

DOJ wants Kerwin Espinosa transferred to ‘more secure’ detention facility

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is eyeing to transfer self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa to a more secure detention facility following his alleged attempt to escape the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) facility.

“We believe that Kerwin Espinosa should be transferred to a more secure detention facility in view of the numerous cases that he is currently facing,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a message to reporters on Tuesday.

On Monday, the NBI said it thwarted the plan of three detainees led by Espinosa to bolt from its facility through a hole of the exhaust fan at the ceiling.

Guevarra, however, said that Espinosa’s transfer to another facility would need commitment orders from the courts where his cases are being tried.

“Ordinarily, unbailed individuals awaiting completion of their trial are detained in facilities of the BJMP,” he said.

“The courts will determine the appropriate BJMP facility, but we’ll recommend the most secure one. the same arrangement will be recommended for the other detainees who attempted to escape,” he added.

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