Megaphone bill turns off Lacson, watchdog

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson said Thursday that a bill that compels police to use a megaphone to warn suspects before they are arrested would endanger the lives of policemen and would only make criminals happy.

A crime watchdog group dismissed the same bill filed by Senator Leila de Lima as “out of this world.”

“They will shoot the policemen,” said Lacson, a former police chief, when sought for comment on De Lima’s bill, which imposes steep penalties on state-sanctioned summary executions.

“Because I came from the law enforcement, I cannot imagine how we can risk our lives or in this case, how we cannot risk the lives of policemen if they will first make an announcement before an arrest or a raid,” he said.

If a suspect is armed and he knows there’s a policeman, Lacson said either the suspect will run and there can be no arrest or the policemen will be shot because the suspects were warned of their presence.

He also said the use of a megaphone would defeat the reason for conducting intelligence work-- that is, to surprise the suspect to be arrested and to catch the suspect in the act of committing a crime.

“How can there be an arrest if those to be arrested have been forewarned?” asked Lacson.

“I cannot see the wisdom [of this], with all due respect to Senator LDL (Leila de Lima)… The use of megaphone before the arrest and incapacitate first, if you are facing an Armalite or high-powered firearms, it’s difficult. You would endanger the life of a policeman.”

Lacson said he does not see the need to legislate De Lima’s bill, and said the bill would not pass anyway.

Once resource persons are called, there would be many objections.

“Those who will be happy are the criminals, the suspects; imagine, giving them warning before arresting them,” he said. 

Acknowledging that this process is being used in other countries, Lacson emphasized that it’s on a case-to-case basis. 

Under De Lima’ bill, police must warn a suspect that he is being arrested by making an announcement using a megaphone.

Also on Thursday, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption slammed De Lima over her proposed bill that megaphones be used by police to warn criminals before their arrest.

“I think it is out of this world,” VACC founding chairperson Dante Jimenez said of De Lima’s proposal.

“Where in this world can you see a police announcing the arrest of a criminal? Such a situation would just give the suspect the chance to flee or shoot,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez, whose VACC filed a complaint against De Lima, said more cases were sure to be followed. “I am telling her there will be more cases to be filed against her,” he said. With Rio N. Araja  

Topics: Senator Panfilo Lacson , Senator Leila de Lima , Policemen , Criminals , Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption
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