Mar 13, 2021 @ 12:43
PNP relieves Calbayog intel chief over letter threatening lawyers of suspected Reds
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has relieved Police Lieutenant Fernando Calabria, Jr., of his duties as chief of the intelligence unit of the Calbayog City Police Station for ordering the local Office of the Clerk of Court to give him the names of lawyers representing suspected communists and threatening to “neutralize” them.
PNP officer-in-charge Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar issued a March 13 statement to “sincerely apologize for this reckless behavior” against members of the legal profession.
“Our apology comes with an assurance to the judiciary and the members of the legal community that it is not and will never be the policy of the Philippine National Police to run after or even inflict harm on lawyers and members of the judiciary while performing their sworn duty,” Eleazar said.
“As both pillars of the Philippine justice system, the PNP and the judiciary have been in good working relationship to defend democracy and maintain peace and order in the country. We intend to keep it that way,” he added.
Eleazar, however, washed the agency’s hands of responsibility for Calabria’s letter and said “the PNP top brass did not issue any order pertaining to that.”
“We are currently checking if there were similar actions in other areas. At the same time, we are investigating to determine up to what level of police hierarchy is involved in this incident,” he said.
Despite the government’s official admission that law enforcers do not follow their procedure more than half the time, Eleazar claimed that the PNP “will never tolerate such unprofessional method of information-gathering.”
“While we in the PNP remain steadfast in the campaign against communist insurgency, we will not condone any irresponsible and unprofessional act of any of our men in accomplishing that goal,” Eleazar claimed.
Section 14 of the Bill of Rights states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel.