AMID the nationwide observance of the National Human Rights Week, the Philippine National Police has described as ‘unfounded’ the latest report by the International Criminal Court regarding alleged abuses being committed by the police in its war on drugs.
PNP spokesman, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac maintained that protection of human rights is a main priority of the 195,000-strong police force and that the PNP leadership has proven that it will never tolerate nor condone any misbehavior and other irregularities being committed by any of its men in their day-to-day operation.
“The rehashed narratives of alleged abuses remain to be unfounded and devoid of truth from the beginning but had been repeatedly told and retold over and over to make sound factual,” Banac told the Journal Group.
“The PNP maintains the regularity of all police operations in its major campaigns against crime, illegal drugs, and terrorism where the possibility of armed confrontation with suspects is always present,” he added.
Banac spoke as the PNP joined government agencies and the private sector in the nationwide observance of National Human Rights Consciousness Week which promotes the need for law enforcement agents to fully observe human rights protection as they perform their day-to-day duties specifically in the country’s war on drugs.
The program with the theme “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights” coincides with the international commemoration of the 71st Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Republic Act No. 9201 declares December 4 to 10 of each year as National Human Rights Consciousness Week in the Philippines.
PNP Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said the observance of NHRCW is an opportune time to underscore the human rights advocacy of the PNP as an institutional policy that remains responsive to the requirements of the rule of law and human rights.
As part of the program, the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office will lead the PNP-wide reading of the abridged-version of Panata sa Karapatang Pantao in today’s flag-raising ceremonies in all PNP headquarters and camps.
At the same time, the PNP-HRAO and all Regional PHROs have been tasked to conduct human rights activities to promote human rights thru community-based dialogue and custodial facility inspection among others.
In 2017, the PNP-HRAO launched the first ever “Know Your Rights” Mobile Application which inform its audience of all Human Rights Advisories and Policies crafted by the PNP, including the contents of the New Miranda Warning Pocket Card with Anti-Torture Reminders.
The application can be downloaded and stored in all android smart phones.
In addition, Miranda Warning pocket card with inclusion of the Anti-Torture Warning reminders have been translated to Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese languages and in 10 Filipino dialects.
The Miranda Warning pocket card aims to strictly inform persons undergoing custodial investigation of their constitutional rights in the language or dialect known to them.
Banac issued the statement in the wake of the ICC’s claim there were rape and other abuses already committed by the police in its 3-year long massive crackdown on drugs.
However, Banac assured the public that ‘we will remain guided by existing rules and procedures which will ensure transparency and accountability in their police operations.”
The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor, according to reports have mentioned that some law enforcers have been raping women connected to suspected drug personalities as well as abuses allegedly committed against drug suspects before getting killed “by state actors and other unidentified assailants.”