PNP chief: Police profiling no different from firms asking for personal data
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa saw nothing wrong with a Makati cop’s invitation to a transgender woman for profiling purposes.
In his weekly press briefing, Gamboa explained that such police action is okay as long as the subject person for profiling would agree to it and would not be forced to do so.
Gamboa, a lawyer, pointed out that civilians can deny a police officer’s invitation for profiling.
Nevertheless, Gamboa said he would look into the matter, which caught the public’s attention after a video showing a Makati police officer stopped a transgender along Makati Avenue for purported profiling at the police station went viral on social media. The transgender refused to yield to the policeman’s request.
“Let’s say for example they are inviting people. Remember, as Filipinos, you have the right to refuse and it should not be taken against you. Probably, ‘di ko lang pinangungunahan ha, baka merong study or survey,” Gamboa said.
(Let’s say for example they are inviting people. Remember, as Filipinos, you have the right to refuse and it should not be taken against you. Probably, I don’t want to preempt, but maybe they are conducting a study or a survey.)
“So kung ayaw ko, ‘di ka pwedeng pilitin ng pulis unless there’s a different reason for you being brought to the police station. Is there a report that they resisted, that they were forced to report? If there is, then we should investigate. Pero kung wala naman there’s nothing wrong with you inviting people to your station,” he added.
(So if I don’t want to go, they cannot force you to go with them unless there is a different reason for you being brought to the police station. Is there a report that they resisted, that they were forced to report? If there is, then we should investigate. But if none then there’s nothing wrong with you inviting people to your station.)
According to Gamboa, there is no difference with authorities profiling individuals and other institutions asking for personal information. He then asked why people resent the proposals for a National Identification system when they readily give banks their confidential details.
“No, because I don’t think there is something wrong about it,” Gamboa said when asked if there was anything wrong with the Makati police’s action. “When you apply for loans in the bank, you indicate everything about yourself. Kaya hindi ko makuha bakit ‘yong ibang tao ayaw ng national ID eh (That’s why I don’t get it when other people do not want a national ID system).”
“You have the right to refuse. So kung ganyan na merong certain class of society who are invited to the police station, voluntarily they can go but they can also refuse,” he insisted.
(You have the right to refuse. When a certain class of society is invited to the police station, voluntarily they can go but they can also refuse.)
In the video, which as of this posting has over 187,000 views, female call center agent Anne Pelos was stopped along Makati Avenue for a supposed profiling directive issued by the Makati police’s leadership. The policeman asked Pelos to go with him to the police station.
However, Pelos and her friends declined the police officer’s request reasoning that they were not doing anything wrong and were just walking on the way home after their work.
The incident has drawn condemnation from various personalities, including both supporters and critics of the administration. Pro-administration blogger Sass Rogando Sasot asked other transgender women in Makati who experienced the same treatment to forward their concerns to her, which she will, in turn, direct to authorities.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), meanwhile, assured the public that they will investigate the Makati police’s operations, dubbed as “Oplan X-Men”, as it appears to discriminate members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community.
CHR also warned that it may eventually lead to warrantless arrests, stressing that this incident is another reason why the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill should be passed.
Edited by KGA
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