Nothing wrong with ‘early morning’ service of search warrants vs slain NDFP consultants — PNP
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Thursday defended the legality of the early-morning service of search warrants against the retired peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Rizal last November 25.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Sinas said timing is crucial in police operations, so as not to give “spotters” the leeway to warn their targets.
“Anytime of the day ang search warrant. Kaya madaling araw para hindi nila matiktikan at malaman, kasi imagine mo kung magsearch kami nang umaga, baka makita nang buong kabayan nila, na baka may spotter sila, may mga contact sila. So pagdating namin doon nakatakas na sila,” Sinas said in explaining why operatives served the warrant on peace consultants Eugenia Magpantay and Agaton Topacio at 3:30 a.m. of Novermber 25.
(The search warrant may be served at any time of the day. We served it early morning so that they would not detect or suspect anything. Imagine if we served the warrant at a later time, some residents might see, they might have spotters they might have contacts there, so once we get there, they could escape already.)
“Kaya ganoon ang ginamit nating approach para hindi alam kung kailan at anong oras magconduct ng search,” Sinas went on.
(We used that approach so they don’t suspect anything, even the time of serving the search warrant.)
Based on a previous police report, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said Magpantay and Topacio, who are senior citizens, were killed in gun battle with police officers at the couple’s residence in Barangay Mahabang, Angono.
CIDG also said the peace consultants, both 69-years-old, resisted arrest.
Police said a search warrant for violation of Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation was issued by the Municipal Trial Court Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija, while a separate search warrant for illegal possession of explosives was issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 40, Palayan City.
Sinas said the PNP started an investigation on possible abuses in the conduct of warrant against the couple. They are also open to the family’s request to investigate lawmen involved in the operation, he added.
Earlier, the family of the couple urged the Commission on Human Rights to investigate what they called was the “tokhang-style murder” of the two retired peace consultants.
“We already directed the IAS [Internal Affairs Service] kasi may motu proprio sila […] so sinabi nga natin openly, na kung pakiramdam ng pamilya na may violations po ang PNP, pwede na po sila magpaimbestiga, open po kami doon,” said Sinas.
(IAS has powers to conduct an investigation motu propio. So we said, openly if the family thinks PNP has violations, they can investigate. We are open.)
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