Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Thursday said the Philippine National Police should concentrate on solving cases without identifying suspects as members of a particular religious sect.
He said this should be done because the religion of a suspect had nothing to do with the crime.
“Membership of an accused in a religious organization has nothing to do with the commission of a crime,” Gordon said.
He said such labelling violated the constitutional right to free exercise of religion and could bring disrepute to the religious organization.
Gordon issued the statement after some of his constituents complained about law enforcers, particularly the PNP, of parading mere suspects before the public and announcing that they belong to a religious sect.
“How many of our countrymen have raised protest regarding their treatment by police?” Gordon asked.
He said this was leading to unnecessary divisiveness in society.
“For example, a suspected bomber in Zamboanga City was labelled ‘Muslim type,’” he said.
The senator stressed this discriminated against a person on account of his religious belief, adding law enforcers should just solve the case without unnecessary labelling that could hurt others.
“This partakes of religious profiling, racial profiling, which is completely unacceptable and illegal,” he said.