The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday appealed to American lawmakers to specifically cite accusations of human rights violations hurled against the institution.
“I hope they would tell us the cases of alleged violation of human rights that they claim in order for the PNP and other agencies of the Philippine government to address these concerns,” said PNP spokesperson, Col. Jean Fajardo, in a press briefing at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
The PNP aired its sentiments over the allegations after the US House of Representatives moved to limit the American government’s assistance to the PNP in light of the controversy.
Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild proposed an amendment to the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2023 which will limit the aid that is being given to PNP until it complies with “human rights requirements.”
Fajardo described the move as unfortunate, insisting that the PNP has been compliant with human rights protection inthe conduct of operations.
While the PNP has no direct information on what these accusations are about, she said the force welcomes any investigation if there were wrongdoings committed by its personnel.
“In fact, we are constantly coordinating with the DOJ (Department of Justice) regarding the cases they are probing, especially on anti-illegal drug operations, which we assume they (US House of Representatives) are calling as alleged violations of human rights. We strongly condemn any violation of human rights and in fact, the PNP is the number one advocate and defendant of human rights,” Fernando added.
The US government has been extending assistance to the PNP in terms of training, particularly in the field of investigation, drug enforcement, and anti-child trafficking, among others.
“We have been given a grant by the US government for a long time and in fact from June 2016 to 2021 we have already received trainings of around 655 from the US government participated by around 11,000 and for 2022 we have completed 115 courses on offer, what we call in-country training is done here. The others are done in Thailand and other places and for the remaining months of 2022 there are still about 17 courses that we expect to continue,” she added.
The US Congress has passed an amendment to the NDAA to put a stop to “uncritical and unconditional assistance” to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in light of human rights violations committed by police forces to Filipinos.
Approved on Thursday (July 14), the NDAA is an annual law passed by the US Congress which determines the budget of the US Department of Defense.
In pushing the amendment, Wild said the “time is long overdue to begin putting some basic human rights guardrails in place.”
“After an estimated 30,000 extrajudicial killings in the Philippines between 2016 and today, after the assassinations, arbitrary arrests, torture, and red-tagging of labor organizers and oppositions leaders, after former President Duterte’s calls for assassinating politically engaged bishops, and after the Philippines has been named year after year by the International Trade Union Confederation as one of the world’s 10 most repressive countries for the labor movement and workers, the time is long overdue to begin putting some basic human rights guardrails in place in the United States-Philippines relationship,” she said.
Aid for the police will be blocked until the governments of the US and the Philippines have certified that they “investigated and successfully prosecuted members of the PNP who have violated human rights” and “established that the PNP effectively protect the rights of trade unionists, journalists, human rights defenders, critics of the government, faith and religious leaders and other civil society activists.”