PNP says no arrest vs. impeachment case filers against Duterte

Published July 3, 2019, 8:09 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Aaron Recuenco

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has no intention of haphazardly arresting people who would file an impeachment complaint against President Duterte.

PIO Acting Chief PSSUPT Bernard Banac (PNP / MANILA BULLETIN)
PNP spokesman P/Col. Bernard Banac

PNP spokesman Bernard Banac admitted that the mere filing of impeachment complaint could not be a basis to effect an arrest.

“The act of filing an impeachment complaint by any citizen is a constitutional redress, not a violation of the law. And that is exactly what the PNP chief, Police General Oscar Albayalde meant,” Banac said.

Banac was referring to the statement of Albayalde who was quoted saying that the PNP would arrest anybody who would file complaint against the President.

Albayalde’s statement drew criticisms especially in the social media, with some people arguing that what the PNP chief had said is a violation of the law.

He was also quoted floating sedition and libel as the possible violations.

Banac said the qualifying term of Albayalde that was misconstrued was “if there is a violation of the law.”

“He was only saying that if there’s violation of the law, of course, an investigation will be conducted first, and police is duty bound to effect an arrest if it falls within the grounds for warrantless arrest or by virtue of the order of the court, for even a criminal facing arrest can file an impeachment complaint,” Banac explained.

“His statement is premised on possible violation of law arising from wrongful accusations against the president, bordering on criminal libel, defamation and perjury,” he added.

Banac also stressed that their position does not run counter to President Duterte’s statement himself who threatened that he would have all those who would dare to impeach him arrested.

“Although the President’s statement did not mention any other condition, we know the elements to effect an arrest. The PNP will always follow the rules as provided for by law. So there’s no contradiction,” said Banac.