Chiz: Military and PNP failed to protect civilians

December 2, 2009 at 7:55 am Leave a comment

Opposition Senator Chiz Escudero said that the massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao was rooted from the inability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to protect civilians. “It’s a reality that the military and the police cannot protect civilians. Civilians more often than not are left to protect themselves in some parts of Mindanao ,” he said during an interview over the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).

Escudero blames the insincerity of law enforcement officials in enforcing gun permit laws. He said that the next administration should make sure that the laws are being followed. He said that if a civilian carries firearms without any permits, then he should be prohibited from holding a gun. “If you are not a soldier or personnel in uniform, you have no business carrying a gun,” he said.

The 40-year-old senator admitted that this has been the situation in the area for the past decades. He added that the crimes committed were inhuman and appalling. “Whoever is behind this must be put behind bars and must face the bar of justice. This is not the first time this incident happened. The war between clans and families are nothing new,” he said.

He warned that the government should not consider their political allegiance in resolving the case. “If and when the government does step in, government must ensure that justice is done for both sides, not only for one side,” he said.

He added that he supports transferring the location of the investigation at the Department of Justice in Manila .

“It is better to do the investigation and custody here than in Maguindanao given that the area is a potential powder keg. Let justice take its course without fear or favor. Let’s just make sure that no one is persecuted unduly thru trial by publicity in our quest for justice for the victims,” he said.

As the chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human rights, Escudero said he is willing to handle and take the responsibility of proceeding with the inquiry. He said that when Senate sessions resume on December 1 and 2, the plenary will decide which appropriate committee would handle the investigation.

However, Escudero added that all considerations must be discussed before conducting the probe. “The last thing you want to do is to haul them all to Manila, for the provincial director, the regional director, and all concerned officials. We do not want to impede their work there,” he said.

“If there is a clear bias one way or another, the Senate should come in also. For example, if the administration is using its clout to persecute not prosecute certain persons or individuals other than political allies, then the Senate should protect everyone’s interest,” he said.

Entry filed under: News.

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