Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Police General Guillermo Lorenzo T Eleazar assured that the police organization is always mindful that cops adhere to the Police Operational Procedures when conducting operations.
PGen Eleazar was reacting to calls by some 100 international groups, including the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, for the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice to conduct investigations into the killings, arrests, detentions, searches, and other forms of persecution of “human rights defenders.”
The groups alleged that search and arrest warrants were used by state forces to detain, harass, and kill activists.
According to the PNP Chief, “While we acknowledge the concern of these groups, we would like to assure them that the PNP has not been remiss in ensuring that police operations are legitimately conducted.”
He pointed out that the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) conducts motu proprio investigations on PNP operations where there are deaths, either of the suspects or of policemen.
“The IAS evaluates if there were violations in our Police Operational Procedures committed by police operatives and recommends the appropriate administrative sanctions, even dismissal from the service, if there are findings of lapses on how a police operation was carried out. The IAS can also recommend the filing of criminal charges against erring policemen,” PGen Eleazar explained.
He pointed out that the PNP has introduced a new safeguard against violations of procedure which is the use of body-worn cameras by police personnel particularly in operations for the service of search and arrest warrants.
PGen Eleazar said, “This would not only serve as the PNP’s guarantee to our countrymen that our personnel will abide by operational protocols, but also serve as our policemen’s protection against malicious and false accusations.”
According to the PNP Chief, “There will always be accusations of police abuse in all manner of our operations but if we were to give weight to all these attributions of wrongdoing on our policemen, even without proof, we would no longer be able to effectively fulfill our mandate of fighting crime and keeping our communities safe.”
He assured, “Our actions against policemen, proven to have veered away from our sworn duty, are swift and decisive as we have zero tolerance for law breakers in our ranks. Such is the seriousness of our commitment to get rid of criminals and rogues in the police organization.”
“Trust that the PNP holds our accountability with the highest consideration and will continue to work within the bounds of the law,” he added.