THE Philippine National Police leadership has reiterated its policy against the use of ‘excessive force at all times’ by the police which are now enforcing a 5-month nationwide ban on the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons until June 12 to ensure a peaceful and orderly May 13 national and local elections.
As of last Sunday, at least five armed suspects had been killed in gunbattles with the police who pursued them as they tried to evade checkpoints in the country. Over 100 gun ban offenders have also been arrested by PNP operatives across the country even as PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said there won’t be a no let-up drive to account for unauthorized weapons that could be used to commit violence during the election period.
National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, said in Metro Manila, 60 civilians had been apprehended for illegally carrying guns and other deadly weapons as of last Saturday. The NCRPO’s strict enforcement of the gun ban has also led in the confiscation of 54 firearms, two grenades and dozens of assorted bladed and pointed weapons as well as live ammunition.
According to newly-designated PNP spokesman, Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw Diwa’ Class of 1992, even persons carrying gun replicas will also be arrested during the election period.
However, in line with its strict adherence to the protection of human rights at all times, all PNP officers and men were reminded of the Police Operational Procedures which is actually the ‘Bible’ of the police when it comes to performing their duty on the streets, said Gen. Albayalde.
The PNP leadership has repeated strict guidelines when it comes to the use of police weapons in any operations learning its lessons from the past.
Section 3 of the POP actually concerns the ‘use of weapon.’ It says that the excessive use of force is prohibited. The use of weapon is justified if the suspect poses imminent danger of causing death or injury to the police officer or other persons.
The use of weapon is also justified under the doctrines of Self-Defense, Defense of Relative, and Defense of Stranger. However, one who resorts to self-defense must face a real threat on his life, and the peril sought to be avoided must be actual, imminent and real.
Moreover, unlawful aggression should be present for self-defense to be considered as justifying circumstance.
Section 4 pertains to ‘reportorial requirements.’ It says that any police officer who used his firearm against a suspect must submit an after-encounter report outlining the circumstances necessitating the use of weapon against the suspects.
Rule 9 of the POP concerns ‘moving vehicles.’ The POP states that a moving vehicle shall not be fired upon except when its occupants pose imminent danger of causing death or injury to the police officer or any other person, and that the use of firearm does not create a danger to the public and outweighs the likely benefits of its non-use.
In firing upon a moving vehicle, the following parameters should be considered: the intent of the fleeing suspect/s to harm the police officer or other persons; the capability of the fleeing suspect/s to harm in certainty the police officer or other persons; and the accessibility or the proximity of the fleeing suspect/s with the police officer and other persons.
Rule 10 of the POP pertains to the ‘things to be done after an armed confrontation.’ It says that immediately after an armed confrontation, the Officer-in-charge shall secure the site of the confrontation; take photographs; check whether the situation still poses imminent danger; evacuate the wounded to the nearest hospital; ensure that all persons who died on the spot are not moved from their original position. Arrested suspects, on the other hand, should be kept in isolation; conduct debriefing on all involved PNP operatives; and submit after-operations report.