CHR to law enforcers: Be sensitive in doing pranks
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The distribution of Christmas gifts is something that is encouraged during the Christmas holidays.
However, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is asking law enforcers to be more sensitive if they plan to ‘prank’ average citizens prior to the distribution of goodies and the other presents that they have prepared.
CHR, in a statement dated December 18, 2020, expressed concern over the conduct of arestoaguinaldo by the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and a similar prank which the Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas (LTO-7) did on motorists at the Cebu Transcentral Highway.
“The Commission on Human Rights is deeply bothered by the arestoaguinaldo Christmas prank of PNP in Cebu City, which started last December 15, 2020, and a similar prank done by the Land Transportation Office last December 13, 2020,” the commission stated.
“While we recognize the intention to bring cheer to citizens, using police power to showcase generosity and compassion is an unnecessary display of power. We call for the leadership of PNP (Philippine National Police) to take due action and for the local PNP to implement a more sensitive approach during the yuletide season,” the CHR added.
CHR said serving an arrest warrant must not be made a laughing matter and should always be carried out with the due process and in the name of the rule of law.
“Such process should not be trifled with nor diminished into a prank for it impacts fundamental rights and law enforcement is no laughing matter,” the CHR said.
The commission also warned that conducting such pranks could result in distress and humiliation of the subject individuals. This could also lead them to lose their trust in law enforcers.
“This may also further stressed-out individuals who may be enduring anxiety due to the ongoing pandemic and the challenging economic situation,” the CHR added.
Mayor Edgardo Labella and PNP chief, Police General Debold Sinas, has already instructed the CCPO to stop the conduct of arestoaguinaldo after it drew flak online.
When doing arestoaguinaldo, uniformed police officers pretended to arrest ordinary citizens and later on present them with gifts and grocery items. The CCPO, for its part, defended its initiative. / dcb
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