MEMBERS of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are duty-bound to respect and uphold human rights in the conduct of their operations including the service of search and arrest warrants issued against suspected terrorists, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar assured the public on Monday.
The PNP chief issued the statement amid a call from the Commission on Human Rights(CHR) for the PNP to uphold human rights when conducting counter-terror operations including those targeting members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and terror organizations in Mindanao.
Gen. Eleazar said he understands the CHR’s call as he gave the assurance that the police organization adheres to the rule of law in the conduct of anti-terrorism operations.
“Malaki ang respeto at pagpapahalaga ng PNP sa karapatang pantao. Ito ang sandigan ng ating human rights-based policing. Pangunahin sa ating mga kapulisan ang pangangalaga sa human rights kasabay ng aming mandatong magbigay serbisyo sa publiko,” the top cop said.
He pointed out that the Police Operating Procedures ensure that police personnel uphold human rights in the conduct of operations and instill in them accountability.
“Ang PNP ay nandito para protektahan ang ating mga komunidad mula sa mga teroristang grupo na walang anumang respeto sa batas at karapatang pantao. Although these terrorists are enemies of the state and of civilized society, we recognize their rights as persons entitled to their day in court for the crimes they have been accused of,” he added.
However, Gen. Eleazar said that when terrorists fight and violently resist arrest, police personnel also have the right to defend themselves.