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PNP officer grabs phone of urban poor volunteer after pickets calling for ayuda
Photo shows a picket outside the House of Representatives calling for the immediate release of the P10,000 cash aid in the House of Representatives as well as urgent action from the Quezon City local government.
Handout/Save San Roque

PNP officer grabs phone of urban poor volunteer after pickets calling for ayuda

(Philstar.com) - May 18, 2021 - 12:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — A police officer in civilian clothes attempted to snatch the phone of an urban poor activist who was participating in pickets at the House of Representatives and at the Quezon City hall.

In a statement, the Save San Roque Alliance said that the volunteer, whose name was withheld on request, was trying to "film the intelligence officer who followed them from Batasan" to the city hall when the officer, irritated by her filming, grabbed her phone.

Another activist who helped her retrieve the phone was also reportedly strangled by the same officer during the commotion, while uniformed police officers in the vicinity even attempted to arrest the activist in defense of the other officer.

Videos taken by the group show the cop, who was held by bystanders who thought he was a snatcher, admit that he was a police officer. 

The phone was eventually retrieved with the help of vendors and food delivery riders.

Philstar.com sought comment from the Quezon City Police District through its public information office but has yet to receive a response. This story will be updated with the QCPD's side later on. 

Grabbing the phones of recording bystanders has become a common practice of police officers over the coronavirus pandemic. 

However, PNP leadership has said that documenting potential cases of abuse of power is not prohibited. 

"Anyone can have that right to make use of the video as regards to the instances, nobody is going to stop them...if they feel there were violations it would be better if this is covered by the video from the parties concerned," former PNP spokesperson Ildebrandi Usana said earlier. 

This came at a picket by the two groups together with Sitio San Roque residents calling for the immediate release of the P10,000 cash aid in the House of Representatives as well as urgent action from the Quezon City local government after what they said was months of neglect in addressing the continuing harassment and intimidation cases by state forces in the community.

The urban poor group in its statement said it held the protest to call for action from the Quezon City local government after six months of unanswered requests for dialogue, which were prompted by a series of harassment cases by the Philippine National Police.

Sitio San Roque residents also denounce the lack of overall support of the government for the urban poor who are one of the most vulnerable to the ill-effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

"If there are claims of police irregularity and they feel they have evidence to support that allegation, it is well within their rights to file a complaint. We are open to any investigation and whatever the outcome, we will accept and abide,” Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, said in a statement Tuesday responding to a probe by the CHR on its arrest of a youth activist in Naga City. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE PNP
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