CHR hopes death of ‘stressed out’ cop stirs reform in police assignment
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) have expressed hope that the death of a Muntinlupa-based police officer, who died allegedly due to stress, would ignite reforms in the handling of police work assignments.
In a statement on Tuesday, lawyer and CHR Executive Director Jacqueline de Guia said that the commission mourns the death of Chief Mst. Sgt. Manuel Escalona last Tuesday, after supposedly going on a straight three-day duty for the recently concluded elections.
Escalona, CHR said, is part of the Muntinlupa City Police Station.
“SPO3 Escalona’s passing, possibly stress-related due to his three days straight election duty, brings to light the stress and health-related hazards law enforcers face in keeping peace in the community and crime-reduction efforts,” de Guia said.
“We hope that the Philippine National Police leadership would look into this incident to prevent its re-occurrence and to take into account the overall health of its officers through equitable distribution of work assignments,” she added.
In a Facebook post last Sunday, Muntinlupa Mayor-elect Ruffy Biazon visited the wake of Escalona, whom he said died due to heart attack. According to Biazon, Escalona — who is part of Muntinlupa’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team — died after a vein in his heart ruptured.
The police officer then fell off his motorcycle before he died.
“Si SPO3 Manuel Escalona ay nag duty ng tatlong araw na tuloy-tuloy para sa eleksyon. Dahil malaki ang pangangailangan ng PNP na gampanan ang tungkulin na pangalagaan ang Peace and Order ngunit may kakulangan sa tauhan, hindi naiwasan na magkaron ng ganung klaseng schedule ang ating mga pulis,” Biazon said.
“Namatay si Manuel dahil pumutok ang ugat sa kanyang puso. Matapos ang kanyang 3-day duty sa halalan, nakapagpahinga lang siya ng konti at nagpatuloy sa normal na gawain. Nagmamaneho siya ng motorsiklo niya nang atakihin, bumagsak at binawian ng buhay,” he added.
According to Biazon, Escalona’s wife said the officer is suffering from both hypertension and diabetes. INQUIRER.net has asked both the Southern Police District and the Philippine National Police leadership for their reaction on the issue, but both have not released any statement as of now.
“Ayon sa kanyang misis, si Manuel ay may mataas na presyon at diabetes. Minsan nakakainom ng gamot, minsan hindi. Marahil dahil sa stress dulot ng straight duty na tatlong araw kasabay ng hindi masyadong naasikasong kalusugan ang naging sanhi ng pagbigay ng ugat ng kanyang puso. Bata pa siya, 42 years old lang,” he added.
CHR meanwhile heaped praises for law enforcers who ensured peace and order during the election process — including Escalona whose efforts resulted in his untimely death.
“We laud SPO3 Escalona and other law enforcers and those in the security sector that took part in maintaining peace during the election period and protecting the sanctity of the ballot during election day. Ensuring peace and safeguarding the ballots are essential in protecting the legitimacy of the election,” de Guia noted.
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