Violence happens only if you resist arrest, Duterte reminds suspects
MANILA, Philippines — Arrests only turn violent if the suspects resist, President Rodrigo Duterte said during his taped weekly briefing that aired late on Tuesday as he tackled the claim of some critics that law enforcers tend to use excessive force.
“If you are arrested, the duty of the police is to inform you that you have committed a crime and that you have to obey government by going with him to the station,” he said.
Now if you resist, he said police officers are allowed to use “reasonable force.”
Duterte got into this issue as he was reminding local official that they could actually prevent those unvaccinated against COVID-19 from going out so that they would not pose a risk to public health, particularly now that coronavirus infections had started to rise again.
“You can actually prevent them from leaving the house. And if they refuse, because you are persons in authority, you can just insist and arrest him,” Duterte said.
Shifting to Filipino, he added: “If there’s a police officer around, you can order the officer [to do the arrest]. But if there’s no police officer, as a person in authority, you can now use reasonable force for him not to continue with his jaywalking on the street, [for example], because you pose a danger to the society.”
Duterte insisted that police officers have not reason to use violence.
“If there is no violent resistance, there is no reason at all for the police to inflict [violence]. It only becomes a scene if you don’t want to go with him,” he said.
To avoid a violent incident, he gave this advice: “Keep your cool and do not argue. After all, once you get there [the police station], and after you have been investigated and. you’re already in jail and you find a ground to file [a case] or sue the police, you can always do that.”
He said he had seen many incidents of a suspect, especially a young one, grappling with police officers. Sometimes it seemed the officer were beating up the suspect.
“You can be sure, he resisted,” Duterte said.
Since Duterte assumed office in 2016, one major criticism of his administration was his alleged disregard for human rights — an issue he has constantly disputed.
However, there have been incidents where police officers or barangay officials on duty were accused of using excessive force.
For example, there was the case of two alleged quarantine violators in Cavite and Laguna in 2021, who both died after being subjected to harsh punishment.
Last April 7, Ernanie Lumban died in the hands of barangay watchmen in Barangay Turbina in Calamba. The local officials saw him in the street during curfew. Relatives claimed that Lumban was only out to buy food.
Days after Lumban died, another person, Darren Peñaredondo, also died as he was doing strenous exercies that police officers imposed on him as penalty for violating the curfew. Like Lumban, Peñaredondo was out to buy an essential good — mineral water.
There were also incidents where people arrested for curfew violations were taken advantage of.
In July 2021, two girls in Ilocos Sur were allegedly raped by police officers who accosted them for violating the curfew.
The girl who survived the incident said that the officers, instead of taking them to the police station, took them to a secluded place and molested them. Later on, the other girl was killed by an assailant aboard a motorcycle, after she filed complaints against the officers.
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