Press Release
April 30, 2017

Drilon calls for a stop to police impunity, urges PNP to prosecute, not defend, cops with hidden jails

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Sunday called for an end to police excesses and impunity in the ongoing war on drugs, as he urged proper authorities to swiftly investigate and prosecute the policemen behind the "secret jail" found inside a police station in Tondo, Manila.

"I condemn this illegal, inhumane and outrageous action committed by some of our policemen," Drilon said.

The senator's statement comes after the Commission on Human Rights team on April 27 discovered at least 12 men and women allegedly detained illegally in a detainee cell hidden behind a bookshelf at the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 1 formerly headed by Police Superintendent Robert Domingo.

"I am alarmed by this culture of impunity among our policemen. Not a single police officer has been held criminally liable in the death of thousands of the casualties of the campaign against drugs," Drilon stressed.

He noted how the wheels of justice have been slow in prosecuting erring policemen such as Supt. Marvin Marcos, who was tagged in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, as well as the policemen who were involved in the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo.

Drilon, a former Justice Secretary, said that the MPD's hidden cell violates the Constitution itself, as well as provisions of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 and the Revised Penal Code.

"There is no doubt about the illegality of this type of detention. This is even enshrined under Section 12(2), Article III the Constitution, which explicitly prohibits 'secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention,'" he said.

"We must uphold the rule of law and serve justice on those responsible for the abuses," he said.

Drilon also cited the Revised Penal Code, which similarly imposes penalties on public officials and employees who "detain any shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of; twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent and thirty-six (36) hours, for crimes, or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent."

Drilon said Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa and the entire PNP leadership should pursue a more decisive stance against the erring cops of the MPS Station 2 and similar allegations of abuse, noting that the police chief's reaction to the issue has been "gravely disappointing."

"I do not see how General dela Rosa can say that his cops did nothing wrong, when the Constitution and the law is clear that having a secret detention is illegal," Drilon said.

Drilon said that rather than dismiss the issue, Dela Rosa should be "disturbed about the rise in cases of police brutality and abuses under his watch."

"The PNP Chief should be more circumspect with his statements, as any reckless words from him only convince everyone that there is indeed a culture of impunity in the PNP these days," Drilon concluded.

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