‘Wag naman OA’: Binay hits ‘frantic’ police practices vs protocol violators
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday raised concerns over the string of arrests conducted by police over supposed violators of health protocols, saying some law enforcers may have “overstepped their authority in dealing with physical distancing rules.”
In a statement, Binay called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to train its personnel on the “correct situational handling” of cases of violations of health protocols and physical restrictions which are being enforced to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The PNP should be aware of its role in public health emergencies. Neither the COVID situation nor the expired Bayanihan Act does not give the police a free pass for frantic policing practices. Actually, they can just expressly issue a reprimand, warning, or caution — pero nakikita ng taumbayan yung blatant disregard of civil rights, at paglabag mismo sa health protocols (But what the public sees is a blatant disregard of their civil rights and even violation of health protocols by policemen themselves),” the senator said.
“The PNP must take steps in dealing with low-level offenses in its public health response. Wag naman OA na kailangan arestuhin yung walang mask, o yung nagbi-video lang, pati yung magpahayag ka ng saloobin. (They should not overreact and arrest those who are not wearing masks, or those who are just taking videos, as well as individuals who are just expressing their sentiment). People are disproportionately punished while some violators are absolved,” she added.
Binay issued the statement following the “heavy-handed” arrest of over 100 individuals in a Makati City bar over the weekend, the arrest of jeepney drivers in Caloocan, the arrest of Pride March protesters in Manila, and the attempted arrest of a media intern during a protest.
These arrests, according to the senator, “highlighted the violations of basic health and institutional protocols.”
Binay called on the PNP leadership to ensure that police operations come with oversight and that policing activities are regularly reviewed and monitored.
“Dapat tingnan ng PNP kung paano makakaiwas sa Covid ang mga tauhan nila maging yung mga nakakaharap nila (The PNP should look into measures to prevent transmission among its personnel as well as those who they engage with),” she further said.
The PNP should also be mindful of the “unsafe spaces of police detention cells that are practically ideal breeding grounds for infection,” according to Binay.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.