The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has lauded the Philippine National Police (PNP) for immediately conducting an investigation into the reported sexual assault by a policeman and a marshal of a 19-year-old female quarantine violator in Mariveles, Bataan.
It also paid tribute to PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar for dismissing Patrolman Elmer Tuazon Jr. against whom criminal charges have been filed.
But the CHR, through Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia, said it will still conduct its own probe.
Reports stated that Tuazon and Armando Dimaculangan, a marshal who was also charged criminally, accosted the teenager at a quarantine control checkpoint for not being an authorized person outside of residence (APOR).
However, the same reports stated that instead of imposing community service, the suspects took the teenager to the policeman’s boarding house where they reportedly took turns in sexually abusing her.
The victim reported the incident. Tuazon and Dimaculangan were arrested.
“Abuse of police powers fundamentally betrays the trust that communities and individuals place in the police,” De Guia said.
“When people are already in fear of contracting the virus, this unconscionable conduct of the police creates additional fear and impacts the public’s confidence in the capacity of law enforcement to ensure their rights are safeguarded,” she said.
The CHR, she stressed, urged the government to send “an unequivocal message to law enforcement officials that sexual violence in custody will not be tolerated, and to put in place preventative measures to deter such human rights violations among the police ranks.”