PNP open to human rights probes amid US bill to cut aid

Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2022 08:39 PM

A glimpse of former President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, which has been constantly called out for human rights violations. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News/file
A glimpse of former President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, which has been constantly called out for human rights violations. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is open to investigation to shed light on human rights concerns raised by a lawmaker from the United States, its spokesperson said Wednesday.

"We are constantly coordinating with the Department of Justice, relating na din po sa mga kasong iniimbestigahan nila, pertaining din po sa anti-illegal drugs operation which we assume na kasama po ito sa mga sinasabi po nilang alleged violation ng mga human rights po,” Col. Jean Fajardo said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

Fajardo was reacting to Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild’s measure at the US Congress seeking to limit her country's security assistance to the PNP over human rights concerns.

Wild’s proposed amendment to the US’ National Defense Authorization Act states that “no funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of State are authorized to be made available to provide assistance for the Philippine National Police, including assistance in the form of equipment or training."

The American legislator listed down four conditions for the PNP in order for aid to continue:

  •  Investigate and prosecute members of the PNP “who violated human rights, ensured that police personnel cooperated with judicial authorities in such cases and affirmed that such violations have ceased”
  •  Establish that the PNP would protect the rights of journalists, trade unionists, human rights defenders, critics of the government, religious and activists “to operate without interference”
  •  Take steps to guarantee a judicial system capable of investigating and prosecuting members of the police and military who have committed human rights abuses
  •  Fully comply with national and US audits and probe on proper use of prior security assistance

On her Twitter account, Wild said that "taxpayer dollars shouldn't be used to supply weapons, training, or any other assistance to state security forces that violently target political opponents."

The PNP was quick to make a defense.

“The PNP, as an institutional policy has always been advocates and defender of human rights," Fajardo said.

She said the PNP has been a partner of the US government and has received assistance in the form of training and equipment, and in the field of investigation, drug enforcement and child trafficking.

Fajardo noted that from June 2016 to 2021, the PNP received 655 trainings from the US government, participated by around 11,000 personnel. 

For 2022, the program of the American government offered 115 courses held in the country, overseas and other regions.

She said the PNP's programs for 2023 and onwards may be affected should the US Congress pass Wild's measure.

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