Press Release
July 2, 2020

Nancy calls on PNP to take steps in protecting people's rights, health
... says health guidelines, protocols necessary to ensure safety of personnel, suspected offenders

After a string of arrests and jail stints against those who allegedly violated health protocols, Sen Nancy Binay expressed concern over unconstrained police engagements, and called on the Philippine National Police to train its personnel on the correct situational handling of cases specially now that health measures are expected to be strictly observed.

According to Binay, the police heirarchy should likewise start moving to the direction of retroffiting its assets like police stations and vehicles while transitioning to the new normal.

"Dapat tingnan ng PNP kung paano makakaiwas sa Covid ang mga tauhan nila maging yung mga nakakaharap nila. Di lang naman patrol cars o sa mga presinto. What should be their protocol to keep everyone safe in the New Normal," she noted.

Binay added that cramped detention cells, and forcing people to ride in police vehicles without proper social distancing mean that the PNP is not compliant with health protocols and their personnel are inadequately trained in reducing public health risks.

"For some reason, the police have become over-zealous in enforcing public health directions to the point that they have put to risk the health of people, and violated basic rights," she noted

Binay said the heavy-handed arrest of more than 100 individuals last Sunday, the warrantless arrest of jeepney drivers in Caloocan, the apprehension of members of the LGBTQ rights group, and the attempted arrest of media intern highlighted the violations of basic health and institutional protocols.

She noted that some law enforcers have overstepped their authority in dealing with physical distancing rules.

"The PNP should be aware of its role in public health emergencies. Neither the Covid situation nor the expired Bayanihan Act does not give the police a free pass for frantic policing practices. Actually, they can just expressly issue a reprimand, warning, or caution--pero nakikita ng taumbayan yung blatant disregard of civil rights, at paglabag mismo sa health protocols," the senator pointed out.

Binay called on the PNP leadership to ensure that police operations come with oversight in order that policing activities are regularly reviewed and monitored.

"The PNP must take steps in dealing with low-level offenses in its public health response. Wag naman OA na kailangan arestuhin yung walang mask, o yung nagbi-video lang, pati yung magpahayag ka ng saloobin. People are disaproportionately punished while some violators are absolved," she said.

Binay added the PNP should be mindful of the unsafe spaces of police detention cells that are practically ideal breeding grounds for infection, particularly Covid.

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