NCRPO chief justifies roughing up cop nabbed for extortion

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Metro Manila police chief Guillermo Eleazar berates PO2 Mario Quebete, who was arrested for robbery and extortion.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 7) — Metro Manila police chief Guillermo Eleazar justified his roughhousing of a cop nabbed for robbery extortion, saying that he deserved to be shamed for what he has done.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source, Eleazar also refused to apologize to Police Officer Mario Quibete. Eleazar collared and forcibly tilted the head of Quibete in front of media after his arrest.

"Itong taong ito, [This person,] he doesn't deserve to stay in the PNP (Philippine National Police.) At 'yung panduduro sa kanya, [And my berating him,] he deserved that'," Eleazar said Thursday.

He added, "Talagang nakakagigil na rin dahil we've been doing this itong entrapment operation even before. Pinakikikita nga natin na ginagawa natin ngayon para magsilbing babala sa ibang mga pulis."

[Translation: It really is infuriating because we've been doing this entrapment operation even before. We are showing what we are doing now to serve as a warning to other policemen.]

However, Eleazar apologized to the public for his outburst, adding that he would act differently if faced again with the same situation.

But the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Quibete's rights to dignity and presumption of innocence were violated.

"How ever much we understand the frustration of General Eleazar, we wouldn't want this to also guide the work of other police officers kasi tinitingala siya at baka gayahin or baka mas malala [because he is looked up to and they might imitate or it could be worse] in the next instance," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia told CNN Philippines' Balitaan.

De Guia added that shaming is considered as mental torture under the Anti-Torture Act. She also said that maltreatment of prisoners is prohibited under the Revised Penal Code.

"As much as possible, kung kakayanin na magtimpi, sana ay ipaubaya na lang sa korte ang pagpapataw ng parusa sa mga pulis kasi sabi nga natin, may karapatan din ang mga pulis," she said.

[Translation: As much as possible, if they can restrain themselves, hopefully they should just let the court mete out penalties for policemen because as we have said, policemen also have rights.]

Eleazar said that the policeman is free to file charges against him. He also shrugged off negative reactions from the public.

"Kung marami sa inyong kumakampi, kinakampihan 'yan, eh so be it. Kung sa tingin nila, mali 'yung ginawa ko diyan, so bahala kayo. Eh kung sa tingin nila eh 'yun pa ngayon ang sympathy is on that policeman, eh palagay ko baligtad na ang perspective sa ginagawa natin ngayon," Eleazar said.

[Translation: If many of you back him up, then so be it. If they think that what I did was wrong, that's up to you. If they think that, now the sympathy is on that policeman, then I think that our perspective on what we are doing now is twisted.]

Eleazar also said that policemen who are bad "to the bones" will still commit crimes even if their salaries are increased three times or four times. "It's about greed. It's about easy money for easy life," he said.

Still, Eleazar said erring cops comprise only a fraction of the police force and appealed to the public to continue supporting the PNP's internal cleansing program by reporting scalawags.

This is not the first time that Eleazar shamed erring cops in front of cameras. In his early days at the helm of the National Capital Region Police Office, he shamed cops for sleeping on the job. He also gave the same treatment to a cop who was accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in exchange for clearing her parents' of drug charges.

President Rodrigo Duterte praised Eleazar for his shaming of Quibete in front of the press and assured him of his support.

Duterte approved last year pay hikes for police and soldiers, with rookie cops getting their salaries doubled.