The firearms and explosives the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it confiscated from its raids of offices of activist organizations in Bacolod City Thursday night are recycled from their old anti-loose firearms operations, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said.
“The loose firearms are from their own ‘Tokhang Kontra Guinadili-an nga Pusil’ that were rounded in previous police operations,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said in a statement, adding the “planting” of evidence is an old trick in the government’s playbook of political repression.
“Matagal nang ginagawa ng pulis itong tanim baril, tanim ebidensya,” Ramos said. (The police had long been known to plant guns, plant evidence.)
Ramos pointed out to the video posted by community journalist Anne Krueger before she herself was arrested as proof the guns and grenades were from the composite police and military raiding teams.
In the video, Krueger, who was then at the Gabriela office, and a companion could be heard saying they do not own the bag police operatives said were found in a dark corner of the office’s backyard.
“We just cleaned that area and this is the first time we are seeing that bag. That is not ours, that is yours,” the unidentified Gabriela member said in the video.
“Buking na buking na ang pulis at militar sa mga pagtatanim nila ng mga baril at ebidensya,” Ramos said in his statement. (The police and the military are notorious for planting guns as so-called evidence.)
The Bacolod PNP said it seized 14 caliber .45 pistols, nine caliber .38 revolvers, and a hand grenade from the local offices of Kilusang Mayo Uno, Gabriela, and Anakpawis in Barangay Bata, and two other offices, including the one occupied by the National Federation of Sugar Workers in Barangay 33.
“It was CIDG operatives who brought and planted the pistols, revolvers, submachine guns, ammo magazines, and live bullets. The Bacolod City Police Office and the PNP Regional Office-7 have an armory of almost 10,000 old and rusty firearms that they usually recycle for planting of evidences,” Ramos added.
Presidential Communications and Operations Office secretary Martin Andanar meanwhile defended the police and the military, denying the guns and grenade were planted.
“We assert that any allegations that the raids conducted were a form of harassment are simply false and we have hard evidence secured to prove our argument,” Andanar added.
Bayan Muna Party however said the judge who issued the search warrant used in the Bacolod raids must publicize her special docket book to prove that court procedures were strictly followed.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate pointed out that while Manila and Quezon City (QC) executive judges are authorized to issue warrants upon application by the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation, the applications “shall be personally endorsed by the heads of such agencies.”
“Did the OIC PNP Chief endorse it? Under the rules the judge must ensure that the application is endorsed by the head of agency, otherwise she would be violating the rules for issuing the warrant,” Zarate asked.
Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares also pointed that the executive judges “shall keep a special docket book listing names of Judges to whom the applications are assigned, the details of the applications and the results of the searches and seizures made pursuant to the warrants issued.”
“We are calling on the Supreme Court, especially Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, to review the actions of the QC RTC Judge, and for the Supreme Court to provide mechanisms to discipline judges who abuse legal processes and merely accede to baseless applications for search warrant by state forces,” Colmenares said.
Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of Branch 89 of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon
City issued the search warrants. # (Raymund