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Palace: Duterte won’t tolerate police abuse after ‘Negros 14’ incident

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 12:00 PM April 09, 2019
Palace: Duterte won't tolerate police abuse after 'Negros 14' incident

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte would not tolerate police abuse, Malacañang said Tuesday, following the killing of 14 farmers in two towns and a city in Negros Oriental province during a series of joint anti-crime operations on March 30.

“Duterte will not tolerate police abuse,” Presidential Spokesperson Salavador Panelo said in a text message.

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The Philippine National Police has claimed that that victims fought back during the search of their houses for illegal weapons but human rights and farmers’ organizations in Visayas said the farmers were summarily executed.

READ: 14 Negros farmers summarily executed – fact-finding teams

“The presumption of regularity applies on the police action. The families can always file criminal charges against them,” Panelo said.

“The families should file charges, that’s the best they can do, and we will let the law take its course,” he added.

In a statement, Panelo said “the Palace is waiting for the official copy of the report on the investigation, which the Philippine National Police (PNP) is now currently doing with a team from its national headquarters that is now in Negros Oriental to start the probe.”

“We assure the families of the 14 farmers who died during the simultaneous police operations in Negros Oriental that President Duterte will not allow police brutality nor will he tolerate police abuse,” he said.

“There is a presumption of regularity on the police action as the operations were backed by search warrants. The families, however, can always file criminal charges against the police officers, and they should if the circumstances warrant, as this is the proper and legal recourse available to them,” he added.

Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday urged the government to make public the police operational reports on the killing of the farmers in Negros Oriental. /jpv

RELATED STORY: Ex-chief justice: Operational reports on killing of ‘Negros 14’ must be bared

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