LP tells PNP: Show determination in chasing lawbreaking cops
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Liberal Party (LP) on Monday, September 4, called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the current administration to “delve into” cases of alleged abuse by police “with dispatch and transparency,” amid reports of another young man killed at the hands of police.
“We are outraged by the killing of another young man which puts to question anew whether the authorities tasked to serve and protect the people have become hitmen,” said the once-ruling party in a statement after the death of 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz made headlines.
Arnaiz, a University of the Philippines (UP) student on leave, was found dead in Caloocan City on August 28. Before that, he went missing after leaving his house in Cainta, Rizal, to buy snacks.
A police report from the Caloocan City police station said Arnaiz allegedly tried to rob a taxi driver.
The driver supposedly asked the help of cops, who pursued Arnaiz, resulting in a shootout. Police said they found packs of shabu and marijuana leaves in his possession. (READ: Aguirre orders probe into teen's death in Caloocan police 'shooutout')
But this narrative has been disputed by his family, including his mother who is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).
A Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) autopsy showed Arnaiz died of 5 gunshot wounds. He also showed signs of torture prior to his death.
The case has been compared to that of Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old who was killed by Caloocan police because he supposedly “fought back.”
Initial investigations and forensic tests have shown otherwise, however. The police involved in the operation now face murder raps for the death of Delos Santos. (READ: NBI: Cops murdered Kian delos Santos, planted evidence)
“Again, as in the case of Kian delos Santos, Caloocan policemen were involved. They claimed that the young man tried to rob a cab driver, whose name and details are missing from the police report. The PNP’s continuing denial of its involvement in the tide of extrajudicial killings, a spillover of the administration's anti-drug war, now rings more hollow amid the emerging pattern of how the victims are killed,” said the party, whose members are allied with both the majority and minority blocs in both houses of Congress.
The LP said the PNP’s credibility is in danger of sinking even deeper as it “[faces] the risk of being perceived as no different from criminal syndicates.”
“There is no [better] time than now for the President and PNP Chief [Ronald] dela Rosa to manifest determination and firmness when law enforcers [reverse] their very role to safeguard the people by becoming killers and lawbreakers themselves. Too many have already become victims,” it added.
Caloocan City 2nd district Representative Edgar Erice criticized the drug war anew, pointing out that "police impunity can no longer be controlled since PNP policy is to kill drug suspects."
"The worst is yet to come if the president will not reconsider his drug war scheme. It is doomed to fail as other countries have tried it and they all failed. The PNP is turning to be a monster," he said, when asked for a statement on the Arnaiz case.
Drug war controversies
Since President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war began, the PNP has had to defend itself from allegations that its members have been taking the law into their own hands.
Dela Rosa has denied that the PNP is involved in cases of summary killings linked to the drug war. He has also insisted that the safety of his men and women justify the killing of alleged drug personalities during operations.
Police involved in the Arnaiz case have since been relieved from their unit pending investigation, according to Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde.
Meanwhile, a legislator who represents overseas Filipino workers (OFW) before the House of Representatives called on the National Bureau of Investigation to also investigate the case of Arnaiz.
In a statement, ACTS-OFW Representative Aniceto Bertiz, III also called on the University of the Philippines and the UP College of Law to pay close attention to the case.
Bertiz had earlier filed a bill, entitled, “The Kian delos Santos Body Cam Act of 2017,” which would require police to wear body cams during operations. Delos Santos was also the son of an OFW. – Rappler.com