Saturday, August 16, 2014

PNP mulls no new raps vs 2 arrested UP grads

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–The Philippine National Police (PNP) is not considering to file additional charges against the two graduates of the University of the Philippines (UP) who were arrested last week in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija amid their claims of human rights violations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP.

          “We are not entertaining the filing of more charges against them. I think that would be adding insult to injury. They are already down and we won’t be stepping on them,” said PNP provincial police director, Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves.

          Nieves was referring to Gerald Salonga and Guiller Martin Cadano who were both labeled as platoon guides of the New People’s Army by military authorities from the 7th Infantry Division.

          The filing of new charges could stem from the two’s claims they were harassed which authorities denied and could counter-act by haling them to court for perjury or false testimonies.

          Salonga and Cadano are already facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

          Cecil Ruiz, chair of human rights watchdog Karapatan, claimed the two were just watching television when arrested by a team of soldiers and policemen from the provincial public safety company in Barangay R.T. Padilla, Carranglan last August 9.

          The composite team seized two 9-mm pistols, bullets, two handgrenades and anti-government documents from the two.

          Nieves insisted that the two were not tortured as claimed by Karapatan and were in fact in good physical condition.

          He said it was but normal for the two suspects to make denials and turn the tables on their captors.

          “Even pushers, when caught in anti-drug operations would deny the seized items were not theirs and these were just planted,” he said.

          Just the same, Nieves said they welcome the conduct of an investigation by the Commission on Human Rights. “We are open to it. If there are lapses in the operation, we may also look into it,” he said.

          Meanwhile, the PNP and the Army have both found an ally in Gov. Aurelio Umali who expressed doubts the arrested UP graduates were tortured. He said the Nueva Ecija PNP just did its job and it has been known not to compromise its obligations to the people of the province.

          Umali said allegations of human rights violations against lawmen in the province were nothing new whenever there is an incident between the PNP and the Army and the NPA.

          He recalled that a few years back, there was an encounter in Pantabangan and there were accusations human rights were violated. “But when the CHR came over to investigate, it was surprised to find out that the policemen respected the human rights of the communist rebels,” he said. (Manny Galvez)


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