House panel recommends charging cops over alleged secret police cell
A House of Representatives committee on Tuesday recommended the filing of charges against police officers who were allegedly involved with a secret detention found in Manila and violent dispersal of demonstrators in front of the US Embassy in 2016.
Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, chairman of the House committee on human rights, said the committee approved the draft report.
The report said the detention cell in the Drug Enforcement Unit at the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 1 in Tondo was hidden behind a bookshelf showed it was "secret" facility.
The conditions of the persons inside the so-called cell were "beyond humane" and do not meet the standards of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners.
It recommended that the Philippine National Police review its operational procecures, especially in documenting arrested suspects.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) discovered the reported secret cell in a 2017 inspection. The CHR officials saw 11 persons, including women, in the cell.
Interviewed by the CHR officials, the detainees claimed policemen demanded P40,000 to P 200,000 if they want to be released.
In a statement, the CHR "welcomes the adoption of the House of Representatives’ committee on human rights report on the case of the MPD, starting with the most important fact: recognizing that MPD’s Raxabago Police Station 1 maintained a secret detention cell."
The report also supports the case filed by CHR against the concerned police officers before the Office of the Ombudsman, despite findings of the Internal Affairs Service of the Philippine National Police (PNP) clearing involved police officers of any human rights violation; denying the existence of the secret detention cell; and characterizing it as a mere holding area, the CHR said.
"We call on the PNP to genuinely clean its ranks from abusive cops, who violate their own oath “to serve and protect” the Filipino people, including a truthful review of the PNP Operational Procedures in the interest of upholding the dignity of all," the CHR statement said. DMS