By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has vowed to upgrade its equipment and systems especially on real time validation of information to aid the enforcement of the law after the wrongful arrest of a female journalist who was mistaken to be a communist rebel wanted for multiple murder and arson.
PNP spokesman Col. Bernard Banac said that the modernization is aimed at ensuring that the same mistake would not be committed via proper documentation and database of wanted persons and other people being sought by the law.
“The PNP shall endeavor to push for modernization of its systems and equipment that will be capable of real-time validation of information to aid our operating units in performing the mission to enforce the law and serve court processes against wanted persons diligently, judiciously and effectively with utmost respect for human rights,” said Banac.
Banac said that they understand what veteran journalist Margarita Valle felt over her hours of ordeal from the time she was arrested at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental up to the time when she was taken to a police office.
Valle, a veteran journalist whose career started during the Martial Law period, writes a column for a popular chain of community newspapers.
“The mistaken arrest of Ms. Margarita Valle is indeed too regrettable. In fact, the Regional Chief (of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) Colonel Tuzon has already asked for understanding and expressed sincerest apology,” said Banac.
Policemen, particularly from the CIDG, were dragged into the controversy regarding Valle’s wrongful arrest after a local military unit sought assistance in the arrest of a woman whom the soldiers identified as a rebel facing arson and multiple murder that were committed over a decade ago.
Since the military has no police power, especially in serving arrest warrant, the local CIDG and the local police deployed some of their men to assist the soldiers.
It turned out later that the informant that the military has apparently mistaken Valle as the same wanted communist rebel.
“We remain open to, and willing to assist any complaint that may be filed by Ms. Valle if she felt her rights had been violated in this unfortunate incident,” said Banac.