Shakedown or drug bust? Warrantless arrest of 2 Manila traders questioned


Posted at Jun 16 2020 10:37 AM

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Independent investigators should look into the warrantless arrest of 2 Muslim traders in Manila who were accused of links to the narcotics trade, a lawmaker said Tuesday, as he raised fear of increased police abuses under a new anti-terror bill. 

Policemen in plainclothes last week allegedly barged into the homes of the 2 jewelry traders in the San Andres district without a court order and coordination with barangay officers, and asked to see the pair's vaults, said House Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman. 

"Bilang mga Muslim representatives sa Congress, nais din naming makita at magkaroon ng independienteng pag-iimbestiga sa pangyayaring ito," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

(As Muslim representatives in Congress, we want to see and have an independent investigation into this incident.) 

"Ang tendency ng procedural lapses, 'pag hindi natin ma-check po ito, baka maabuso at kawawa po iyong mga biktima naman," he added. 

(The tendency of procedural lapses, if unchecked, is that they could lead to further abuses and victims will suffer.) 

The Manila Police District earlier said the 2 traders sold illegal drugs to an undercover officer and that some P258,000 worth of suspected shabu was confiscated from them. 

Relatives and bystanders tried to prevent the arrest and failed after a reinforcement team from the MPD headquarters arrived, police said. 

Hataman said he feared that similar incidents could happen due to a looming anti-terror law that would allow the government to wiretap suspects, arrest them without warrants and hold them without charge for up to 24 days, among other provisions. 

"Lahat naman tayo gusto nating matuldukan ang terorismo pero minsan ang polisiya natin, kahit maganda, 'pag naaabuso, iyon don ang nakakatakot," he said. 

(We all want to stop terrorism but sometimes, even if our policy is good, it could be abused and that is scary.)

TeleRadyo, June 16, 2020