SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan took to task security forces in the suspicious killings of activists and the arrest of others during raids in several provinces in Calabarzon over the weekend.
“As a person, I find the killings very disturbing. Every life is precious. Peace and order, not killings, ang mandato ng mga pulis. Ang dami ng namamatay sa Covid, sa mga bagyo, sa kung anu-anong sakuna. Huwag nang maging dahilan ang pulis sa pagkamatay pa ng kababayan natin,” he said.
“Bilang tao, parang naubos na ang luha at galit ko sa nangyari. Condemnation and outrage would be an understatement over the fate that befell the victims. Have we become a nation of butchers of our fellow Filipinos? Is there no more respect and value for life, rights, and due process?” he added.
Pangilinan said that to prevent such obvious disregard for human life, the Philippine National Police (PNP) must use the P289-million body-worn cameras that it purchased in 2019.
“Without the body cameras, the ‘nanlaban’ excuse of the police for killing their captives would always be under a cloud of suspicion,” he said.
Pangilinan said the PNP and other law enforcement agencies should explain what happened to the budget for body camera appropriated to them as early as 2017. He said the PNP and other concerned law enforcement agencies should explain why up now, body cameras are still not part of requirements of police operations.
“Why are these cameras not being used? It should not be too complicated to use one. Is there a deliberate delay in utilizing these cameras?” he asked.
Pangilinan said the PNP earlier acknowledged that the body cameras will be useful in documenting their police operations amid allegations of extrajudicial killings during their drug war raids.
In 2018, three police officers were found guilty of the high-profile murder of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos with the help of the video that caught the cops shooting the helpless teenager.
The senator pointed out that cries of human rights violations of relatives of the victims and various groups should not be dismissed. He noted that two of the those killed were arrested alive and then later turned up dead under mysterious circumstances.