Freeman Region

Discussion with police: CHR-7 clarifies human rights issues

Juancho R. Gallarde - The Freeman

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines —The Commission on Human Rights in Region 7 has clarified certain issues with the police of Negros Oriental during a forum “Human Rights and the Rule of Law discourse” initiated by CHR-7 Regional Director Arvin Odron.

“Ang tan-aw man gud sa komunidad, ang CHR ug ang police murag dili magkasinabot in relation to implementation of laws,” Odron told reporters in the province during an interview.

The CHR-7 wanted to correct the common perception that every time something unexpected transpires during raids or police operations, the CHR is immediately investigating it, but if something bad happens to the police, no CHR is investigating.

Odron explained that they have to act when their attention is called about alleged human rights violations committed by the police or else they will be the ones reported to higher headquarters for inaction or negligence. 

The CHR is mandated to conduct a moto propio investigation without a complainant upon hearing new reports about alleged human rights violations committed by law enforcers. This will determine if state actors are performing their duties and functions in accordance with reasonable standards, said the CHR-7 top official.

Odron initiated this flagship program of CHR-7 that would establish good relationship with the police and to sustain it through periodic discussion of issues with law enforcers. “Tan-aw nako kini ang pinaka-epektibo nga pamaagi aron magkasinabot sa isyu nga wala ta magkasinabot,” he told the police in Negros Oriental.

Present during the discourse were all chiefs of police in the province, headed by Senior Superintendent Raul Tacaca, director of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office (NORPPO).

Before the event, the CHR-7 was in Barangay Poblacion 1 in Dumaguete City for the conduct of a free legal clinic and lectures about the Katarungang Pambarangay Law, and Violence against Women and Children Law, among others.

According to CHR-7 provincial head Jess Cañete, most of the legal questions raised during the talks were land and boundary disputes, including duties and functions of barangay officials. Asked during the free legal clinic was on the matter of barangay officials witnessing the inventory of confiscated drugs and paraphernalia, after every anti-drugs operation in a particular barangay.

The CHR-7 was also concerned when certain personalities are being identified as “persons of interest” over crimes committed, because this matter is prone to abuse, such as the Bulacan massacre incident where three “persons of interest” were killed, one after the other, the day after.

Also presented during the forum was the case of a police officer who admitted having shot and killed the suspect. Odron reminded the men in uniform that, during enforcement of laws, if your life is endangered, use your firearm to cripple, neutralize, subdue and arrest the suspect,

“Ayaw patya. But, if napatay, the concerned policeman has to answer the case in court and may invoke the principle of self defense,” Odron added.

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