MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights on Sunday urged police to address allegations of "anomalous arrests" as it denounced the apprehension of journalists and trade union organizers on International Human Rights Day.
Those arrested last Thursday allegedly were in possession of illegal firearms and explosives, said CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia.
She also cited the deaths of peace consultants Agaton Topacio and Eugenia Magpantay who allegedly resisted arrest and exchanged gunfire with the Philippine National Police despite being sickly and elderly.
"Such arrests are cause for concern given that there were statements by families and concerned personalities alleging irregularities and errors in the said operations, including the fact that arrests were made in the midst of red tagging of activists and human rights workers," she said.
The commission urged the PNP to address "doubts and allegations of anomalous arrests" as government had already stated "here and abroad its commitment to respect and protect the human rights of all."
"These commitments need to be translated to actual reforms, including effectiveness of redress mechanisms in addressing similar allegations and different human rights violations," De Guia said.
"For if these pledges will remain as words, then we would not only fail the human rights cause, but this would also render hollow the government's primary assertions that it will abide by its obligation to uphold the rights of all."