Commission on Human Rights should consider victims’ families first

THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is at it again.

Over the weekend, it came up with pronouncements that it will be probing into the  death of murder suspect Carl Joseph Bañanola after he reportedly grabbed the service firearm of one of his four police escorts from the Quezon City police. 

They were said to be inside a police mobile car at around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday when the incident happened, so that the suspect ended up being shot fatally by the police officer concerned.

The CHR, in a news report, was quoted as having said that ‘there are questions about the death of Bañanola that also need to be settled,’  noting that ‘while the Philippine National Police (PNP) Manual of Operations allows the use of firearms in the face of imminent danger, the same manual prescribes the use of necessary and reasonable force under specific conditions.’

‘In practice, cases of self-defense should be brought before our courts towards determining the validity of the circumstances that resulted in a person’s death. Guilt is not automatically absolved by a ‘nanlaban’ (fought back) alibi,’ it further said, adding that it is welcoming the possible filing of administrative and criminal cases against the police officers who were escorting Bañanola.

It must be noted that Bañanola was positively identified by a surviving victim as the one who robbed and killed couple Nicolas and Leonora Austria, aged 86 and 87, respectively, inside their house in Novaliches, Quezon City. The positive ID was done by the couple’s household helper, who is also a senior citizen, while she lay in bed while recovering from the trauma and a gaping wound in the head which was inflicted by the suspect, who hit her with a metal pipe too.

I hope the CHR considers the feelings of the victims’ families too. In fact, I think that their feelings must be given more weight, given the circumstances surrounding the issue at hand.

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The first nominee of the newly-proclaimed Senior Citizen partylist has expressed fears that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will not give him the seat for their partylist group at the opening of the 18th Congress, this coming July.

In a media interview,  Atty. Godofredo Arquiza, the first nominee of the Senior Citizen partylist in the recent midterm polls, said there had been rumors that the Comelec will allow another nominee to occupy his seat in Congress.

It can be recalled that the Senior Citizen partylist has won 516,000 votes in the 2019 party-list race, which is enough for them to have a seat in Congress.

Arquiza admitted that their partylist had problems because there are two other individuals who filed their candidacy, using the name  ‘Senior Citizen’.

The Senior Citizen won two seats in the 2016 elections but according to Arquiza, it was surprising that his wife, who was the first nominee the party-list then, was not allowed to sit in Congress.

Arquiza was the representative of the Senior Citizen partylist during the 14th and 15th Congress from 2007 to 2013.  He even presented to the media the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) incorporation of their partylist on November 6, 2003, and in 2007, where it was indicated that Arquiza is the President of the group.

He was also endorsed by the Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens of the Philippines Inc. (CASPI) to be their congressional representative. Well, let’s just wait and see.

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