'Bato' urges CHR: Probe Abu Sayyaf beheadings too

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2017 03:19 PM | Updated as of May 12 2017 08:15 PM

PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa. File Photo

CHR says security forces have primary mandate but may come in if there are violations of international humanitarian law. 

MANILA (UPDATED) - Probe killings by Abu Sayyaf too.

This was the message of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) as he urged the organization to investigate beyond the police force.

Video courtesy of Henry Atuelan, DZMM

"Gusto nila mag-imbestiga? Sige. We are open. Sige imbestigahan natin yan. Sana pati yung mga pinuputulan ng ulo ng Abu Sayyaf iimbestigahan rin nila yun,"he said.

Dela Rosa made the comment in response to the commission's doubts over the death of alleged Abu Sayyaf member Abu Saad who supposedly tried to escape from custody and was shot in the middle of his forehead.

Dela Rosa said the CHR should investigate why the Abu Sayyaf behead their victims.

"Sabihan mo yung CHR, huwag lang mag-limit dito sa side natin...Bakit pinuputulan ng ulo ng mga Abu Sayyaf yung biktima nila? Isama sa imbestigasyon nila," he said.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia, meanwhile, said they can come in if there are violations of international humanitarian law. 

International humanitarian law, or the law of armed conflict, seeks to "limit the effects of armed conflict" for humanitarian reasons, "protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities, and restricts the means and methods of warfare," as defined by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

De Guia cited the January 2015 Mamasapano clash, where the CHR investigated the death of 44 police commandos, 18 Moros and several civilians, centering on the possible use of excessive force in the gunfight. 

"Terrorism or counter-insurgency falls under the mandate of security forces of the state such as the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the PNP (Philippine National Police), but if there are violations of international humanitarian law, the CHR conducts investigations as it did in Mamasapano," De Guia told ABS-CBN News. 

She said that the ASG "must also observe international humanitarian law" as "a non-state actor." 

The Abu Sayyaf, an extremist group known to be hiding in the marshlands of Mindanao, are known for beheading its kidnap victims who fail to pay ransom.

A word war between Dela Rosa and the CHR ensued earlier this month following the commission's discovery of a hidden jail cell in a police station in Tondo.

Dela Rosa blasted the commission and told them to conduct surprise visits to stations on a daily visit and not just ahead of the country's hosting of the ASEAN summit. 

He, however, later on apologized for his remarks.

The Commission on Human Rights has the power to investigate human rights violations involving civil and political rights and exercise visitorial power over jails, prisons, or detention facilities, according to its mandate.

-with a report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News