MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police said it will give Manila Police district officers involved in the arrest of Manila Vice Mayor “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and his companions the “presumption of regularity,” unless it is proven that the police operation conducted over the weekend is indeed politically motivated as alleged by the official.
PNP spokesman, Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo, issued the statement amid allegations from Moreno’s group that Mayor Alfredo Lim, the main rival of the actor-turned-politician’s running mate former President Joseph Estrada, was behind their arrest on Saturday afternoon.
“The PNP is looking into all angles, but it is presumed that the officers conducted the arrest properly unless it’s proven that their action was ‘election motivated,’” Cerbo said in Filipino.
Reports had it that Domagoso and five others, namely Councilors Jong Isip, Joel Chua, Benny Ang, Yul Servo and Maria Asuncion Fugoso, were arrested after they were allegedly involved in an illegal gambling activity on Tambunting Street in Manila around 5 p.m. Lim earlier denied having to do anything in the group’s arrest.
The vice mayor and the councilors were detained at the Quiapo station headed by its commander, Superintendent Ricardo Layug.
“That’s the trouble with them. They would violate the law and when the police act they will cry it’s politically motivated,” Lim deplored.
“Then they would accuse some people. There’s only one question on this matter. Did they violate the law or not? Are these officials above the law? If it’s going to be like this then cops will feel useless,” Lim said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Domagoso said in a TV interview Monday that he is set to file complaints against police officers who arrested his group for allegedly hurting them as tension rose during the incident.
“’Yung isang konsehal ko sinasakal ng pulis, binuhat ng isang pulis, eh inawat ko. Tapos nagkagulo na ang taong bayan, there are about 2,000 people in the area, bata at matanda. Syempre naawa ako, inawat ko sila. In the end, kaming lahat ang inaresto,” Domagoso said in the interview.
(One of the councilors was being strangled by a cop, so I tried to break it up. Then chaos ensued, there were about 2,000 people in the area, children and old people. Of course, I tried to pacify them. In the end we were all arrested.)
Cerbo said he has yet to receive the official report from the Manila Police District about the incident.