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PNP tops list of human rights violators in Negros Occidental

BACOLOD CITY , Philippines— The Philippine National Police again topped the list of having the most number of accusations of being human rights violators in Negros Occidental for 2016, after remaining on top of the Commission on Human Rights’ list with the most number of complaints of HR violations since 1998.

Romeo Baldevarona, head of the CHR-Negros Occidental, said the complaints against the police has something to do with the performance of their job as law enforcers. Last year, the CHR recorded 15 complaints filed against policemen.

For the year 2016, the CHR recorded 33 cases of alleged human rights violations in Negros Occidental, a similar number as that of 2015. Next to the PNP is the New People’s Army with five cases, unidentified armed men and civilians with three, juveniles with two, and the Philippine Army, a barangay captain and councilman, and a husband with one each.

Murder also topped the list of cases reported to CHR-Negros Occidental, followed by homicide with four 4; physical injuries (three); grave threats, violence against women and children and RA 7610 (two each); and harassment, grave coercion, and grave abuse of authority (one each).

The CHR also recorded 11 cases of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in Negros Occidental in 2016, all of which were being claimed to have been connected with the proliferation of illegal drugs.

Two of the 11 victims were former policemen, a town councilor, a barangay councilman, and suspected drug pushers and users, among others.

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But Baldevarona said his office are still validating these victims and cases, some of which were legitimate police operations—citing the recovery of firearms and drugs—such as the Pontevedra buy-bust in July last year when four were killed, and in the shoot-out at Barangay Taculing in Bacolod City that claimed the life of barangay Councilman Rodolfo Gayagas Jr. of Bago City in September.

Baldevarona said the family of slain Moises Padilla town Councilor Crispin Posadas strongly debunked claims of the New People’s Army rebels who claimed responsibility for his death in June last year, that the town official was engaged in illegal drugs.

Former Police Officer 1 Francis Philip Cañete died in a shoot out with the police during a buy-bust operation in Bacolod City in July last year, while Abelardo Calderon, a policeman dismissed from the service for alleged use of drugs, was gunned down in La Castellana in November last year.

PO2 Ernie Jaminal, who was also arrested for using prohibited drugs, was shot and killed by a still unidentified assailant on December 9 last year in Bacolod City. But this was not reflected in the records of the CHR.

Baldevarona said all the cases of EJKs were investigated. Except for the wife of PO2 Canete who had sought the help of CHR to investigate the incident, no other complainants came to their office, he added. (FREEMAN)

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