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After Tuguegarao prosecutor’s office drops drug charges vs imams

Gutoc reminds cops: Don’t use drug war to frame people

/ 11:23 AM March 21, 2019
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Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawi. INQUIRER file photo / Joan Bondoc

MANILA, Philippines — Marawi civic leader and senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc has reminded police officers not to use the war against illegal drugs to frame people they want arrested.

“I repeat my reminder to all the unscrupulous policemen, I demand that you stop using the drug war to frame up others,” Gutoc said in a statement on Thursday.

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“Stop using it as a weapon to take advantage or silence anyone,” she added.

Gutoc’s statements came after the National Council on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) reported that the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Tuguegarao, Cagayan has dismissed drug-related charges against three imams, identified as Habib Sirad Ditingcopen, Noraldin Bantuas Lucman, and Mossanip Madaya.

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“I applaud this decision, I am thankful that the prosecutor saw the truth and ruled that there was lack of probable cause […] This proves that justice is still possible through legal and peaceful means,” Gutoc noted.

“We thank the police for their swift action in this case, and we commend the efforts to clear the names of the three religious leaders,” she added.

In a previous report, the NCMF claimed that arresting officers falsified evidence by forcing the imams to drink water laced with methamphetamine.  Gutoc also called on President Rodrigo Duterte to facilitate the release the Muslim leaders. 

READ: Gutoc asks Duterte to look into arrest of 3 imams in alleged drug bust

The police force have been accused of framing people as drug suspects in order to reach a so-called quota, after numbers of casualties allegedly fighting it out with authorities increased.

READ: Police paid to kill drug suspects, plant evidence—Reuters report

The Philippine National Police (PNP) have denied such allegations, but a Reuters report in 2017 said that a retired intelligence officer and an active commander admitted that police officers have killed suspects and planted evidence in exchange for cash.

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Since Duterte took office in July 2016, official data from the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) states that more than 5,000 drug suspects have been killed in legitimate operations.

Opposition groups and personalities however claim that the real number of dead suspects could be well between 11,000 and 30,000, including vigilante-style killings. /je

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TAGS: “Otso Diretso”, 2019 elections, imam, Muslim leaders, Philippine news updates, Samira Gutoc, Tuguegarao, votePH
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