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Metro

Protesters beat up 2 undercover cops

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Two policemen who went undercover were detained and beaten up by still unidentified protesters along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City yesterday morning, a few hours before President Aquino delivered his State of the Nation Address.

Chief Inspector Antonio Ananayao Jr. and Police Officer 1 Reden Malagonio were attacked by protesters who caught them taking videos of the rally. The protesters detained the police officers in a jeepney and beat them up when the lawmen refused to let go of their mobile phones.

A representative of the militant group Karapatan said they deleted the contents of the devices.

The two policemen are members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion of the National Capital Region Police Office.

A third person who was also detained by the protesters was Gil Climaco, a Zamboanga-based journalist, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. The protesters had mistaken him for a police officer.

A Zamboanga congresswoman had to call the protesters to release him, ABS-CBN reported.

Part of the job

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said the victims were taken to the Quezon City Police District to report the incident.

“That’s part of their job so we know what is happening. We are readying charges” against the protesters who attacked the two policemen, he said.

Marquez said the protesters may be charged with illegal detention, robbery and physical injuries.

Citizen’s arrest

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said that as far as they know, the “protesters just reacted to the surveillance of the police, which usually leads to worse violations.”

Militants said they just did a “citizen’s arrest” after they saw two men taking photos of protesters belonging to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Southern Luzon.

Palabay called the charges “absurd” and said they are “ready for anything that might happen.”

Iya Franca, a member of Bayan Southern Tagalog, said the lawmen were hurt when militants were trying to look for their identification papers.

She added that they initiated a citizen’s arrest as the lawmen’s presence within the ranks of militants is tantamount to threatening and harassing them.

Franca said they will also file charges against the policemen, but admitted that the lawmen were unarmed when they were accosted.

Rules of engagement

On the other hand, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Chito Gascon said while militants have long considered intelligence activities as a form of harassment, the police and the military can conduct intelligence operations if there are security threats.

“There are rules of engagement (when conducting intelligence operations),” he said. “Whether or not these are violated is a matter to be determined in a proper forum.”

Gascon also noted the use of citizen’s arrest, saying this is done when a person sees another person in the act of committing a crime.

“It’s a matter of interpretation,” he said.

He stressed, however, that in no instance can a person – whether a police officer or a militant – has the right to hurt another person.

Not the first time

It is not the first time that intelligence operatives are burned out while on the field.

In July 2013, Police Officer 3 Richard Ebrada was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation while posing as a CHR official when he visited the wake of slain Ozamis gang leader Ricky Cadavero in Muntinlupa City.

Ebrada, 37, said PNP Intelligence Group officials sent him to the wake to get information on police officials who protected Cadavero and his group.

Ebrada did not know that CHR officials had interviewed Cadavero’s family a few hours earlier.

Cadavero supposedly told his family he paid off the entire Cavite police to protect him after he escaped from the New Bilibid Prison, where he was serving a 67-year sentence, in December 2012. – With Rhodina Villanueva, Janvic Mateo, Cecille Suerte Felipe

A ZAMBOANGA

ACIRC

BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN

BAYAN SOUTHERN TAGALOG

CADAVERO

CECILLE SUERTE FELIPE

CHIEF INSPECTOR ANTONIO ANANAYAO JR. AND POLICE OFFICER

CHITO GASCON

POLICE

PROTESTERS

STRONG

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