MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday defended the police operations that resulted in the killing of 14 people and the arrest of 15 others in Negros Oriental on Saturday.
“The law enforcement operations were legitimate and covered by search warrants issued by the court,” PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac in a statement on Sunday.
“It is the duty of the PNP to enforce the law and maintain peace and order to ensure public safety and security against criminal and other lawless elements,” he added.
Banac made his comment after militant groups condemned the police operations which they claimed as ‘a crime against our farmers’.
“And we always perform this function following the standard rules of engagement, respect on human rights and with presumption of regularity,” Banac said.
He said the PNP would welcome any move by some groups challenging the veracity of the operations.
“All the allegations raised by some groups will be answered by the PNP at the proper time and at the proper venue,” Banac said.
Banac said the operations in Canlaon City and the towns of Manjuyod and Sta. Catalina were implemented based on search warrant issued by local courts for possible possession of firearms and explosive materials.
A total of eight people was killed in Canlaon City while four in Manjuyod and two in Sta. Catalina town, the local police said.
“We are sure that they really tried to shoot it out because our policemen will not use force if there is no threat to their lives,” Banac said.
“The police were running after these personalities because of the violations of the law, and based on the information obtained they were keeping contrabands, guns and bullets. The PNP just implemented the search warrant and at the course of the implementation, there were gun battles,” he added. (PNA)
Photo from Philippine National Police Facebook page