Press Release
February 19, 2009

Chiz wants names of operatives involved in EDSA 'shootout'

Senator Chiz Escudero on Thursday demanded for a full and detailed account of the killing of three suspected carnappers in an alleged shootout with police in EDSA last Tuesday, as he called on the Philippine National Police to release the names of the operatives involved in the incident.

Escudero, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said that what was shown in the video footage in the aftermath of the alleged shootout was "chilling," as he expressed concern that the police may have violated operational procedures.

"If this happened in a major thoroughfare such as EDSA, then it is chilling to imagine what goes down when the police encounters suspects in secondary roads and dark alleys, away from the prying eyes of the media and the public?" the senator said in a statement.

He warned that if the PNP does not investigate what seemed to be a rubout rather than a shootout, then he will take up the matter in his committee.

"I want a detailed report and the names of the operatives involved in the incident. If the police can parade suspected criminals to the media, I want these names known to the people," Escudero said.

He said that under police standard operational procedure during encounters with suspected criminal elements, when the danger or violence has ceased and the suspects subdued, the police should ensure that they are given medical attention.

"This is because the police may want more information from the suspects and it is in the best interest of justice that they be kept alive," Escudero explained.

"You don't finish them (suspects) off, you save their lives," he stressed.

He said the PNP and the National Police Commission, as the disciplinary authority in this case, should prove that they are on the people's side by preventing a whitewash in the investigation of this case.

Escudero said that if the Commission on Human Rights decides to investigate the incident, he will give way and provide full support to the probe.

The senator added that he has asked the PNP leadership in the past to provide him with a list of suspected criminals killed in encounters with police but they have not furnished him with the data.

"We may have here a pattern for violation of standard operational procedures on the part of the police, just like what happened in the EDSA and Paranaque shootouts. We need to review if legislation can ensure that rules of engagement and SOPs are strictly followed," Escudero said.

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