Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon slammed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald de la Rosa for abetting the use by the Manila police force of a secret jail cell.
“Defending an unlivable prison cell hidden behind a book shelf inside a police station is incomprehensible. It is also very arrogant,” Lacson said in his Twitter account.
A team from the Commission on Human Rights discovered the secret cell of Station 1 of the Manila Police District last week. Crammed inside the small room were 12 people.
De la Rosa defended the use of the cell.
Lacson said the use of the secret cell is indefensible.
Drilon meanwhile said using hidden cells violates the Constitution, the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 and the Revised Penal Code.
He noted that Section 12(2), Article III of the Constitution explicitly prohibits “secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention.”
He also cited the Revised Penal Code, which imposes penalties on public officials and employees who “detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the prescribed period.”
“I do not see how General de la Rosa can say that his cops did nothing wrong, when the Constitution and the law is clear that having a secret detention is illegal,” Drilon said in a statement.
He insisted that de la Rosa and the entire PNP leadership should pursue a more decisive stance against the erring police officers.
The senator also expressed alarm over the culture of impunity among policemen, saying not a single police officer has been held accountable for the death of thousands under the government’s campaign against illegal drugs. He cited the case of Supt. Marvin Marcos, who was tagged in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. as well as the policemen who were involved in the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo inside the national headquarters of the PNP in Camp Crame.