MANILA, Philippines Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas today said the Philippine National Police crime would no longer present crime suspects to the public without the consent of the suspects or their lawyers to avoid possible accusations of human rights violations.
Roxas outlined the new policy, which he said was recommended by PNP Director General Alan Purisima himself, during a press conference in Camp Crame where he announced the arrest of the suspected gunman in the killing of Mayor Erlinda Domingo of Maconacon, Isabela identified as Marsibal Abduhadi alias Bagwis.
“We need to balance the right of the public to know alongside the rights of the accused,” Roxas said. “This is a new regulation, and we will formally issue it this Monday (January 28).”
He added that has discussed the matter with Secretary Leila de Lima of the Department of Justice and that the new policy guideline will be finalized in consultation among the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the DOJ, the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation.
Answering media queries as to how newsmen would be able to talk to crime suspects, Roxas said interviews may be coursed through the lawyers of the accused, but made it clear that there would be no interviews allowed while the suspects are still under the police investigation process.
The Secretary said those who are accused of committing crimes and who are in police custody will eventually be presented to the public during inquest and other legal public proceedings.
Roxas also declined to categorically state that the killing of Mayor Domingo is considered solved with the arrest of the alleged gunman, saying that the question of why she was killed remains unanswered.
“Hindi pa rin natin alam kung siya ba ay pinatay dahil sa negosyo o dahil sa pulitika, o dahil napagtripan lamang siya,” Roxas said.
A report by the Quezon City Police District said Abduhadi was arrested Friday night at the Saalam Compound in Culiat, Quezon City allegedly while engaged in a drug session with a woman, who was also arrested.
Recovered from the suspects were two hand grenades and several high-powered firearms as well as some crystalline substances that could either be shabu or cocaine.
Police earlier announced the arrest of three other suspects in connection with the killing of Domingo.