Commission on Human Rights (CHG) chairman Richard Palpal-latoc has recommended a retraining of the entire Philippine National Police (PNP) force in light of the Aug. 2 killing of a 17-year-old teenager near his home in what the police claimed as a case of mistaken identity.
Meanwhile, the PNP, together with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called a press conference in Camp Crame to tackle various issues confronting the entire police force.
DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. enjoined the PNPL and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) to revisit the command responsibility doctrine.
While Palpal-latoc welcomed the Northern Police District’s announcement of a refresher course for its police personnel, the CHR chief said this should be done nationwide.
“It shouldn’t be limited to that station, adding that it should cover the entire police force. In fact, we have an existing training for them on human rights,” Palpal-latoc said.
Palpal-latoc noted that the Philippine National Police already has its operational procedures and guidelines with a human rights based approach.
“If you will just follow the rules properly, rights abuses could be avoided,” he stressed.
Jemboy Baltazar, 17, was shot dead by policeman after he allegedly jumped from a boat into the river when he was ordered to surrender.
Palpal-latoc also stressed the importance of police personnel using the body cameras issued to them.
The policemen involved in the killing of Baltazar supposedly did not use their body cameras.
They were placed on preventive suspension as administrative and homicide charges were being prepared against them.
Secretary Abalos was accompanied by NAPOLCOM vice-chairman and executive officer Alberto Bernardo, PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez and Police Regional Office Region 4A (CALABARZON) director, Brig. Gen. Carlito Gaces.
During the press briefing, Abalos asserted that the police became reckless during operations in Imus, Cavite and in Navotas, saying they entered the house without a search warrant and shot dead Baltazar without even confirming the identity of their target.
“It’s a bit isolated, although it’s really irritating, no matter who you’re angry with. You can see the video on Imus, you can see it, it’s very painful to lose a loved one, I felt that, that’s why swift action is important here.” Abalos said in response to a question of a reporter claiming that policemen were becoming reckless during operations.
Abalos likewise questioned the logic of the so-called “quota system” that makes the law enforcers reckless in carrying out their raids.
Sermonia said the quota system has been stopped upon orders of Acorda.
Abalos said he wants command responsibility doctrine to be more flexible where the PNP chief no longer needs to wait for a commander to strike three times before firing him and being held accountable for command responsibility.
According to Abalos, it should depend on the case and the weight of its impact on society.
The DILG chief also promised that justice will served on the family of Jemboy Baltazar.
Six Navotas policemen, including an executive master sergeant, three staff sergeants, two corporals, and a patrolman, were disarmed and placed under restrictive custody, pending filing of appropriate charges against them.