Targets in Calabarzon crackdown 'involved in some kind of terror operation': PNP

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2021 07:57 AM | Updated as of Mar 09 2021 08:13 AM

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MANILA - The Philippine National Police on Tuesday maintained the operations that killed 9 activists in Calabarzon were legitimate.

PNP spokesperson Ildebrandi Usana said the operations stemmed from search warrants issued by the court.

Human rights and advocacy groups hold a rally at the Commission on Human Rights office in Diliman, Quezon City to protest the killing of 9 activists in raids conducted by state security forces. Courtesy fisherfolk group PAMALAKAYA

"From our point of view, we say this is a legitimate operation...Hindi po natin hangarin na pagka nagkaroon ng ganyan operation merong mga encounters kasi at the risk din ang buhay ng ating mga kapulisan," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(It's not our goal for encounters to break out during this kind of operation because our policemen's lives are also at risk.)

"Kung titingnan natin may mga naaresto because they didn’t commit any kind of resistance. We know too well itong mga na-involve ay sadyang delikado rin because we have learned they were involved in some kind of terror operation."

(There are those arrested because they didn’t commit any kind of resistance. We know too well the suspects are dangerous because we have learned they were involved in some kind of terror operation.)

Human rights groups have called for an investigation into the so-called "bloody Sunday" raids in 4 provinces in the region that resulted in 9 deaths and 4 arrests.

The PNP will look into the matter should its regional director in Calabarzon "deem it appropriate," Usana said.

"Even if it’s legitimate, bibigyan natin ng attention kung sakali man ang procedures they have not been followed," he said.

(Even if it’s legitimate, we will still pay attention if there were procedures that have not been followed.)

Usana also denied that the operations were related to President Rodrigo Duterte remark last Friday, ordering the police and military to "kill" communist rebels and "ignore human rights."

"Ito pong instruction ni Presidente ay hindi po matuturing na basehan upang kami ay mag-take action," he said.

(We cannot take action based on the instruction of the President.)

"But we also have to create balance between the protection of society and human rights of everyone."

Laguna Provincial Police Office spokesperson Chit Gaoiran earlier denied that the operations came following Duterte's remarks last Friday.

"Nagkataon lang po na ito po ay nangyari sa panahon na may statement ang ating mahal na Pangulo. Definitely di po ito nangyari overnight. Ito po ay search efforts po ito so talaga pong vinalidate ang information bago natin inapply ang search warrant," Gaoiran told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo Monday.

(This just so happened at a time when the President made such statements. It definitely did not happen overnight. These are search efforts so we validated information before we applied the search warrant.)