House probe sought on profiling and warrantless arrest of Muslim traders

Published June 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio

Mindanao lawmakers want the House of Representatives to look into the alleged warrantless arrest of two Muslim traders in San Andres, Manila last June 12.

On a vote of 261 to 18, the Senate and the House of Representatives decide to extend martial law in Mindanao up to December 31, 2017 in a joint, special session at the Batasang Pambansa yesterday. Inset photo shows Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (left) and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez presiding over the session that lasted more than seven hours. (Jansen Romero, Alvin Kasiban)
House of the Representatives (Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Prodding the committees on Public Order and Safety and on Muslim Affairs to carry out a joint inquiry are Deputy Speaker, Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman; Lanao del Sur Rep. Ansaruddin Abdul Malik Adiong; Sulu Rep. Munir Arbison; Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu; Lanao del Sur Rep. Yasser Alonto Balindong; Maguindanano Rep. Datu Roonie Sinsuat, Sr., and Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Party-List Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan.

The Muslim House members filed House Resolution (HR) No. 981 last June 16 for this purpose.

“The primary objective of this probe is to get to the bottom of what happened in the afternoon of June 12 in the residence of the two Muslim traders, get the side of the police, find out if there was really abuse of authority, and study if there is a need for legislation to address an injustice,” Hataman, former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said in a statement Thursday.

In asking for the probe, Hataman noted that abuses by some police officers especially against Muslims have become commonplace.

“At mas lalong nakababahala ito dahil sa napipintong pagsasabatas ng Anti-Terrorism Bill na sa tingin ko ay open na open sa pang-aabuso ng mga magpapatupad nito. (The impending enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Bill makes this incident more worrisome because I think it allows for abuses like these),” he said.

Hataman, one of the lawmakers who voted against the House passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill earlier this month, stressed that giving power to law enforcers to search and arrest without warrant will only result in the abuse and misuse of the authority given to them under the measure.

“Ito sana ang gusto nating maiwasan sa kahit na anong polisiya, ang pagmamalabis sa kapangyarihan ng mga nagpapatupad ng batas, lalo na sa mga kapatid nating Muslim na kadalasan ay biktima ng diskriminasyon at profiling. (Excessive power for law enforcers is what we want to avoid in any policy, especially if it will be used on Muslims who are common victims of discrimination and profiling),” he said.

The resolution states that, at around 3 p.m. last June 12, Abdullah Palawan Maute and Saadudin Alawiya were allegedly the subjects of unreasonable search and seizures, and illegal warrantless arrest by members of the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 5 led by PSupt. Ariel Cabarle Caramoan.

Reports indicated that the policemen, without properly identifying themselves and sans any search warrant or warrant of arrest, allegedly broke the main door of the house where Maute and Alawiya were residing. This allegedly took place without proper coordination with barangay officials, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the police station in the area, in violation of the standard procedure in conducting search or buy-bust operation.

Hataman said what the police should have done was build a strong case against the traders instead of disregarding legal procedures.

“Had they done so, we wouldn’t be in this situation…good police work should have worked in this case, pero ang nangyari, mukhang gustong ishort-cut ang proseso (but what happened was they wanted to short-cut the process)at the expense of trampling on the human rights of the Muslim traders,” the Basilan legislator lamented.

He earlier said that he was not passing judgment on the guilt or innocence of the two Muslim traders, but was just very concerned by the way the cops conducted their operations.

“Kailangan na tayo talaga maglagay ng mas mahigpit na panuntunan laban sa mapang-abusong miyembro ng ating kapulisan. Hindi naman lahat sila ay ganito, mas maraming matitino. Pero may iilan na sumusobra at umaabuso sa kanilang kapangyarihan (We really need to establish stricter safeguards against abusive members of the police. Not all of them are like this, most of them are good. But there are a few who abuse their authority),” he said.