Senator Leila De Lima, a human-rights advocate, and former Justice secretary think highly of the efforts of Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno in cleaning up his city against lawbreakers as he presented 35 suspects caught in different operations by the Philippine National Police (PNP). But advised that it’s against the human rights, presenting suspected lawbreakers in the media.
“Kahanga-hanga ang ginagawang mga hakbang ni Mayor Isko sa paglinis ng Maynila, kasama na ang pagsugpo ng krimidalidad. Pinapaalala lang natin sa kanya na ang pagparada ng suspect ay labag sa batas sa karapatang pantao,” she said.
“Nakita po natin ang pagsisikap ni Mayor Isko na patalikurin ang mga nasabing suspek at maitago ang kanilang mukha. Gayumpaman, naiharap pa rin sila sa mga kawani ng media at mga taong naroon,” she added.
She said that suspects still have their constitutional right to the presumption of innocence. That, despite the fact that Moreno allowed suspects to cover their faces, some media men and people who are present at every press conference held by the City Government of Manila could still possibly see and identify them. Despite that, Delima commend the mayor for not following President Rodrigo Duterte’s “tokhang-style” which became popular when he became the president.
Meanwhile, Moreno gives grounds for his action, maintaining that a memorandum circular of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2008, which stopped the practice of public presentation of suspects, are for PNP personnel only. The Manila City Legal Office Chief Emeterio Moreno also defended Moreno’s action, citing that the PNP Reorganization Act of 1998 and DILG Reorganization Act of 1990 where the mayors have “operational supervision and control” of PNP units in their areas.
“Una walang parada, ang parada ho ay sa Luneta… hindi naman ho sila pinaparada. I respect her views… she’s entitled to it any citizens of the country you’re entitled to your opinion. But for the meantime, me being a Mayor of Manila I have my obligation to keep Manila clear of lawbreakers because we owe it to the people of Manila,” Moreno said. The Mayor also guarantees that he would prioritize the human rights of the innocent civilians who only wanted to be safe.
“Nahihiya ba kayo sa ginagawa nila? Kung kayo ang magulang nito? Eh sila hindi nahihiya eh, kita niyo nga inaalagaan ko pa yung pagkakakilanlan nila sa mata ng publiko, pero kailangan makita ng taga Maynila na may warm body. Puwede tayong usapang laway lang pero kung nakikita niyo talaga, hindi ba ito magbibigay ng kapanatagan ng inyong kalooban? Hindi ba ito patunay na seryoso ang Lungsod ng Maynila? Violation of human rights eh paano yung human rights ng gusto matulog ng mahimbing? diba may human rights din naman kayo?” he added.
He stated that the police also have the right to defend themselves if the suspects try to resist them.
“Kung kayo ay malalagay sa alanganin at mahal niyo pa ang inyong buhay ay maipagtatangol niyo naman ang inyong sarili habang pinapatupad ninyo ang batas,” he said.
“So balancing lang yan, hindi po ito popularity contest. This is [about] keeping our city clean of bad elements, basta po kami nakikisuyo lang po kami sa kanila… kami po ay kailangan ng tulong sa Maynila, sana ay tulungan nalang nila kami sa Maynila dahil mamamayan din naman kami ng bansa,” he also said.
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