Albayalde says no to cop shaming
While cleansing its ranks is a priority, shaming police scalawags is not an option.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde on Friday disagreed with proposals to implement a shame campaign against rogue policemen, saying it goes against the human rights standards, particularly on due process and presumption of innocence.
“(Be it an ordinary person or a policeman), we must put a stop on parading suspects (to the media),” he said in an interview during his first visit to Cebu City.
In 2008, then PNP chief Jesus Verzosa issued a memorandum circular that banned the presentation of suspects to the media since it violates human rights.
The circular, which cited the Philippine Constitution in its policy guidelines, read: “The presentation of the suspects to the media is not only violative of their constitutional rights of presumption of innocence, but also their human rights subjecting them to unwanted publicity.”
It has not been implemented until Albayalde, on Monday, decided to end the practice of presenting suspects to the media.
Incidentally, the order came after the PNP chief paid a courtesy visit to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Archbishop’s Palace in Manila last June 6.
During the meeting, Albayalde assured the cardinal that the police will strictly observe human rights and the rule of law.
The country’s top police official, however, clarified that the PNP can still release the mug shots of some suspects, particularly those accused of estafa and illegal recruitment.
“People also have the right to know who these people are because maybe these were the same suspects who victimized them,” Albayalde said.
Strict verification process
While they agreed to a shame campaign against police scalawags, two Cebu City councilors said proper verification must be made in order to spare the innocents.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor on police matters, said it would be unfair to good policemen who were falsely accused of a wrongdoing to bear the shame.
“There is a possibility that the allegations are only hearsay. So, we would like to request the the PNP to verify first and to conduct extensive investigation (before subjecting someone to shame),” he explained.
If investigators have strong evidence against the policeman, Tumulak said they might as well file the appropriate charges in court.
Cebu City Joel Garganera shared the same sentiment.
“One can fairly say that this planned shame campaign is quite consistent with our President’s effort to cleanse the ranks of the very institution expected to enforce the law. The only concern that should be raised in this campaign is the system of identifying those erring police officers,” he said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
“There should be no room for doubt and no one should be influenced by personal motives or the like. Otherwise, I can say that, go ahead, make our day,” he added.
Senior Supt. Joel Doria, director of the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office, earlier entertained the possibility of implementing a shame campaign against police scalawags.
However, he said there must be a formal directive from their higher ups in Camp Crame otherwise he won’t do it in Cebu City.
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