Inside out

Random musings in and outside the news

New police chief told: We are keeping an eye on you

Posted by Abi Kwok on September 27, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 15:09:00 09/27/2008


MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has vowed to “keep an eye on” and monitor all activities of newly sworn-in Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Verzosa with regards to human rights promotion and violations.

In an interview Saturday, CHR Chairperson Leila De Lima added that her agency is looking forward to working with Verzosa, adding that she hoped Verzosa would continue on the human rights programs started by former PNP chief Avelino Razon, who retired today.

“I hope Verzosa will continue on with the projects started by Razon especially with the human rights programs,” she said.

“But as to whether or not equally human rights conscious as Razon, well we’d like to see that. It remains to be seen. We will monitor the performance and activities of Verzosa,” De Lima added.

She also said the human rights aspect of the PNP still needs improvement, citing the recent killings of the alleged suspects in the RCBC bank massacre. But she added that there has been a “sharp decline” on incidents of extrajudicial killings under Razon’s watch.

“Pero we know naman the human rights affairs department of the PNP is very active in terms of education program. So sana iprioritize ng bagong leadership ng PNP further increased awareness, promotion of human rights. Hindi dapat nakakalimutan yun (That aspect should not be forgotten),” De Lima said.

But, she said, there has been “no improvement” on the number of incidents of torture, arbitrary detention, and arbitrary arrest allegedly involving policemen.

In his farewell speech, Razon cited the creation of 1,636 Human Rights Desks across the country and Human Rights Deepening Seminars performed under his watch as PNP chief.

Meanwhile, Verzosa said he has issued a memorandum circular “temporarily banning” the parading of suspects in a “firing squad” style in front of the media.

“We will prohibit and penalize police officers who hurt suspects,” he added.

De Lima also urged Verzosa to prohibit confrontation between the suspects and the victims, because “that’s also a violation of the rights of that person.”


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