Gov't mechanism to probe, punish erring security personnel âlargely ineffectiveâ â US report
This file photo taken on May 9, 2018 shows Philippines and US marines taking position next to assault amphibious vehicles (AAV) as they simulate an amphibious landing as part of the annual joint military exercise at the beach of Philippine navy's training camp in San Antonio, Zambales province northwest of Manila.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

Gov't mechanism to probe, punish erring security personnel ‘largely ineffective’ — US report

Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - March 12, 2020 - 1:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — Mechanisms in place to investigate and punish abuse and corruption in the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines remained mostly unsuccessful, the US Department of State said in its global rights report for 2019.

The 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released March 12 noted that Philippine laws provide criminal penalties for corruption by public officials as well as President Rodrigo's moves to fire officials over allegations of corruption.

"But the government did not implement these laws effectively and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity,” the report read.

The State department noted that the institutional deficiencies of the PNP and the public perception that corruption in the police was endemic has continued.

“The PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) remained largely ineffective,” the State Department said, referring to the body which monitors the character and behavior of all policemen and investigates all administrative offenses committed by PNP personnel.

Currently, the IAS is under the supervision and control of the PNP chief.

3,619 disciplinary procedures over 14,724 complaints

The State Department noted that out of the 14,724 human rights violations complaints filed against cops from July 2016 to April 2019, the PNP recommended disciplinary procedures in 3,619 cases and dropped charges in 588 cases.

“Although the IAS claimed manpower and resource limitations hampered its investigations into deaths resulting from police operations, it asserted the majority of police operations were legitimate, lawful police actions,” the department said.

Police said just over 5,500 alleged drug dealers and users back have been killed during arrest because they resisted violently. But the figure is significantly lower than the estimates by human rights watchdogs of as many as 27,000 killed.

The PNP’s Counter-Intelligence Task Force, for its part, reported the 7,867 police received administrative punishments, 4,100 were suspended and 2,367 were dismissed as of April 2019.

The PNP CITF has been replaced by the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group, which the PNP says on its website, "is designed to conduct intelligence build-up and law enforcement operations against PNP personnel who are involved in any illegal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, financial crimes, cybercrime, malversation, graft and corrupt practices, security violations, and others."

‘Largely ineffective’

According to the State Department report, no extrajudicial killings or forced disappearances were identified and investigated by the AFP Human Rights Office from January to July 2019.

While it noted of the efforts to reform the PNP and AFP through human rights training, the State Department stressed that “government mechanisms to punish abuse and corruption in the security forces were poorly resourced and remained largely ineffective.”

“Prolonged delays in the justice system reinforced the perception of impunity for the security forces and for national, provincial and local government actors accused of corruption and human rights abuses,” it also said.

The US State department has been submitting annual human rights reports on all countries receiving assistance from the US as well as on all United Nations member states.

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