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Bato to cops: Observe human rights

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Members of the police force were reminded yesterday to strictly observe prescribed police operational procedures when conducting law enforcement operations, particularly in effecting arrests, even if the country is under a state of emergency on account of lawless violence.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa urged the 160,000 PNP members to respect human rights.

“All arrests should be made only on the basis of a valid warrant of arrest issued by a competent authority, except in instances where the law allows warrantless arrest,” Dela Rosa said, citing Rule 13 of the Revised Police Operational Procedures.

Malacañang has clarified the scope and limitations of the authority of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under a state of emergency on account of lawless violence.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum containing guidelines for the PNP and AFP, emphasizing that “no civil or political rights are suspended during the existence of a state of lawless violence.”

Medialdea said law enforcement authorities can only effect warrantless arrest when the person to be arrested has committed, is committing or is attempting to commit an offense in front of arresting officers.

Another situation when warrantless arrest can be implemented is when an offense has just been committed and the arresting officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested committed the offense.

Also, when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending; and when the person arrested, or to be arrested, has voluntarily waived his right against warrantless arrest, Medialdea said in his memorandum.

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