By Chito Chavez
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has demanded the government to conduct a fair resolution of the ‘’mistaken’’ arrest of journalist Margarita Valle.
To recall, Valle was erroneously arrested and detained for 12 hours on June 9, 2019 by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police in Region 9 (PNP-CIDG-9) at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental.
The police later apologized and downplayed the incident as a case of mistaken identity.
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia has expressed dismay and concern ‘’that no action was done by the PNP to rectify its supposed mistake and to assure justice for Valle’s ordeal’’.
She insisted this raises doubts on the justification of the “mistaken” arrest considering what she called as the current climate of impunity and the unceasing complaints of harassment and red-tagging.
Given her background as a development worker and a journalist who is strongly vocal on the cause of the Indigenous Peoples, de Guia said Valle’s case merits deeper investigation and proactive action.
‘’The Commission firmly believes that such grave blunder that impacts the fundamental rights of a person must not be taken lightly,’’ de Guia said.
De Guia claimed the internal psychological and mental impact of the arrest has continued to haunt Valle.
‘’It cannot be overemphasized that utmost due diligence is required in carrying out arrests. Hence, infractions must be dealt with accordingly by those who have the authority to reprimand or sanction to uphold the standards and integrity required of the institution that is expected to protect the people,’’ she added.
De Guia added the CHR will closely monitor the just resolution of the case she filed in Ombudsman.
‘’It is also included in the CHR’s national inquiry on the situation of human rights defenders. We hope that check and balance is fully demonstrated in resolving this case as well as similar cases to prevent any further “mistakes” that violate human rights,’’ de Guia concluded.