CHR: Collateral damage in police operations must not be dismissed
MANILA, Philippines — While collateral damage in police operations may be unavoidable, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday said they cannot be simply dismissed.
CHR spokesperson lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia said police operations must be investigated to prove that measures were done to avoid such mishaps.
“There should always be a higher threshold in protecting the right to life,” she said.
Citing the Constitution, De Guia reiterated that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
“We remind the government, especially our law enforcers in this case, that it is their mandate to ensure that these guarantees are carried out, and not merely dismiss possible human rights violations nonchalantly, as part of their sworn duty to serve and protect the people,” De Guia said.
Three-year-old Myka Ulpina was killed after being shot in a crossfire between suspected drug pushers and police officers in Rodriguez town, Rizal province.
According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Ulpina was the daughter of a drug target in the area, identified as Renato Dolofrina.
Dolofrina, the PNP said, used the child as a human shield to prevent the police officers from firing a shot at him.
Ulpina’s mother, however, refused to believe this claim.
Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, a former head of the PNP, defended the police operations, saying that in an “imperfect world” these instances cannot be avoided.
“Sino bang may gusto? Ikaw ba, pulis ka gusto mo may bata tamaan? Kasi ikaw may anak ka rin, hindi mo gustong may mangyari na ganun (Who wants that to happen? If you are a police officer, would you want a child killed? You may have a child, too. And you will never allow that to happen,” Dela Rosa said.
“Pero shit happens. During operation, shit happens,” he said. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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