PNP denies revival of vigilante group to battle crime

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2018 08:33 AM

MANILA - The Philippine National Police on Tuesday said it has no plan to revive the infamous "Alsa Masa" vigilante group to beef up community support in its anti-crime efforts.

Calabarzon police director Chief Supt. Edward Carranza said over the weekend the PNP will expand its Community Mobilization Project (CMP), an intelligence gathering system first launched in his region.

"It's like the Alsa Masa," he was reported as saying in media reports.

The CMP however will only enhance police partnership with the public by authorizing them to mount citizen’s arrests, said PNP Directorial Staff deputy director General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan.

"'Wag silang mag-worry, dahil ito po ay dinadala ng 5 pillars ng criminal justice: law enforcement, prosecution, courts, community and rehabilitation. Everybody works as one," he said.

(They shouldn't worry because these will be anchored on the 5 pillars of criminal justice.)

"They have only one strategy, they have only one plan. And they are focused into one objective, that is peace and order in their community."

Formed in the 1980s under then dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the Alsa Masa allegedly committed human rights violations in Mindanao by labeling legitimate opposition leaders as communists.

Cascolan said they will only incorporate good aspects of volunteerism from Alsa Masa in Community Mobilization Project.

"Ang Alsa Masa nakatulong naman noong 1980s din. Ang siguro lang na mali, na-mishandle ng iba, at the same time noong medyo kumawala na ang kalaban, nagamit naman sila ng ibang mga tao na hindi kanais-nais ang mga motibo," Cascolan said.

(The Alsa Masa had benefits in the 1980s. Perhaps the mistake there was that it was mishandled and at the same time, it was used by some people with unscrupulous motives.)

To prevent rights violations, CMP volunteers will not carry guns and will face charges over abuses, he said.