DON’T look now, but the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has cited the Philippine National Police (PNP) for scrapping the “firing squad” or “firing line” presentation of arrested crime offenders to the media.
Quickly, the commission, acknowledged as one of the agency’s top critics, said the decision not to present persons deprived of liberty to the media “conforms with a CHR advisory issued in the past.”
In a press statement, the CHR said this is in consonance with human rights standards, particularly on due process and presumption of innocence.
“Our social media account praised this latest development by posting an ‘OK’ card, a stamp of approval for positive policies and programs implemented by the government,” said the commission.
“Mabuti naman at nakikita din ng pamunuan ng CHR ang mga kabutihang ginagawa ng liderato ng ating pambansang pulisya,” said a barangay official of Pindangan East, Alcala, Pangasinan.
But in stopping the practice, PNP chief Director-General Oscar D. Albayalde maintained that the people have the right to know the arrest of all law violators, including rogues in uniform.
“We can be tough on crime while upholding the rule of law,” said Albayalde, a hard-hitting police general who is hated by criminals and other lawless elements but idolized by law-abiding citizens.
In the view of some quarters, including police officials, the “firing squad” presentation of suspects to the press is not only violative of their constitutional rights but also of their human rights.
The practice subjects a suspected crime offender to unwanted publicity, thereby besmirching his/her name and reputation, including that of his/her family.
Note that after assuming the top political post of the land on June 30, 2016, President Duterte launched a nationwide campaign against illegal drugs, graft and corruption and criminality.
The premier police agency, which is civilian in nature but national in scope, deserves the support of the public as it exerts efforts to protect the constitutional rights of the Filipino people.