THE head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has welcomed the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) plan to investigate the alleged suspicious death of an Abu Sayyaf Group member in Bohol.
But PNP Chief Ronald de la Rosa urged the CHR to also form a fact-finding body on the beheadings and brutalities carried out by the extremist group.
“Go then. We welcome the investigation. We are open [with it]…But tell the CHR to not just limit their investigation to our side,” de la Rosa stressed.
Last week, the CHR Central Visayas announced that it would conduct an in-depth investigation into the death of Saad Samad Kiram, also known as Abu Saad, who escaped from the Bohol police’s watch after he was arrested on May 4.
While hiding from law enforcers, an informant tipped off the police on his whereabouts, resulting in his sudden arrest. As he was being moved to the Bohol District Jail, the Abu Sayyaf bandit managed to escape, but was cornered by the police and was shot three times in the thigh, chest and forehead.
The CHR in Central Visayas, headed by Director Arvin Odron, said it would coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation and has begun gathering information that would confirm the death of Kiram.
Bohol police earlier expressed their openness to the planned investigation “to better clear things out.” It also initiated its own probe into Kiram’s death.
De la Rosa said it would also be fair if the CHR – which has repeatedly condemned the alleged extrajudicial killings committed by the PNP amid the administration’s war against narcotics – would also look into the killings committed by the notorious Abu Sayyaf.
“I just hope that the CHR will not limit their investigation to our (PNP) side. I hope they will also look into the killings committed by the Abu Sayyaf,” he said.
But CHR spokeswoman Jacqueline de Guia, said the body will only investigate the beheadings perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf only if the group had violated international humanitarian law (IHL).
In a text message sent to The Manila Times, de Guia pointed out that terrorism and counterinsurgency operations are the responsibility of security forces including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP.
“Terrorism or counterinsurgency falls under the mandate of security forces such as the AFP and the PNP but if there are violations of IHL, the CHR conducts investigations as it did in [the]Mamasapano [massacre],” she explained.
De Guia also hailed de la Rosa’s openness to the probe, which, she said, showed that law enforcement units do not tolerate wrongdoing.
“We welcome it especially since the value of openness to an investigation depicts non-tolerance and acquiescence to probable wrongdoings and if proven otherwise just shows that the state is adhering to the rule of law,” she said.