The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) declared on Monday, May 17, that while the police is mandated to provide means to assure peace and order in a community, it is also its duty to protect the residents from “arbitrary arrests.”
It also urged the government to guarantee protected freedoms in the Constitution such as the right to organize, express dissent, free speech and expression, and demand redress for grievances.
Through Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia, the CHR asked the government to investigate the May 2 arrest of Sasah Sta. Rosa, chairperson of Anakbayan in Naga City, since there are “doubts” about what transpired in the police operation.
Sta. Rosa, an activist and student leader, was reportedly arrested during the early hours of May 2 in Villa Obledo, Naga City on the allegations of possession of loose firearms and improvised device materials.
But Sta. Rosa’s family claimed that they were forced out of their home before being presented with a search warrant. On the other hand, the police alleged the search yielded a bag of guns, grenades, and red flags.
Sta. Rosa is the former department head of People’s Rights and Welfare of the Supreme Student Government of the Ateneo de Naga University.
“We remind the government, particularly the police, that securing a community includes guaranteeing everyone’s safety from allegations of weaponizing the law and legal processes, as well as arbitrary arrests,” De Guia, a lawyer, said.
“It is to the best interest of the government to investigate, ferret out the truth, and assure that due process and the rule of law are in order,” she said.
CHR’s Region V will be pursuing an independent investigation on Sta. Rosa’s arrest and has vowed to “be open to both sides,” she added.