Crisologo hits QC police: Don't allow them to 'arrogantly violate our rights'
MANILA, Philippines – Bingbong Crisologo, Quezon City 1st District representative and defeated mayoral candidate, did not mince words against the city police who arrested him on the eve of the May 13 elections.
In a privilege speech during the session at the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, May 20, Crisologo alleged that the cops arrested him on May 12 to prevent him from casting his vote the next day.
"I believe that my arrest was purposely planned to prevent me from exercising my right to vote. We should not allow these men in uniform to arrogantly violate our rights. This kind of men does not deserve a place in the Philippine National Police," said Crisologo.
"They bring shame rather than honor. They abuse rather than protect," he added.
On May 12, the Quezon City police handcuffed Crisologo and his lawyer-son Edrix at a house in Barangay Bahay Toro for allegedly obstructing justice as cops arrested his supporters who were accused of vote buying.
The mayoral candidate denied the accusation, saying his supporters were merely preparing for their task as poll watchers.
The police arrested more than 40 of Crisologo's supporters, but seized only P800. They did not have a search warrant.
Crisologo and his supporters were released in the afternoon of May 13 after Assistant City Prosecutor Felomina Apostol Lopez found the evidence presented against them was “unclear that the crime of vote buying and vote selling took place.” Crisologo was able to vote at around 3:30 pm.
In his speech on Monday, Crisologo repeatedly called Quezon City Police District chief Brigadier General Joselito Esquivel, Lieutenant Colonel Alex Alberto, and other city police officials as "arrogant."
"If they could do these atrocious and cruel things to an incumbent congressman and to a lawyer, they could easily do these things to our ordinary citizens and even to you, my dear colleagues. We should not allow this to happen. We should not allow the police officers to violate and trample upon our rights with impunity and arrogance," said Crisologo.
From just the obstruction of justice case, cops later accused Crisologo of unjust vexation, disobedience and resisting arrest, direct assault of a person of authority, and illegal detention.
The prosecutor said these still needed further assessment through a preliminary investigation before she could decide on probable cause.
Immunity from arrest 'disregarded'
Crisologo further criticized the Quezon City police for arresting him even if Section 11, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution states that sitting lawmakers are immune from arrest for offenses punishable by not more than 6 years of imprisonment, and as long as Congress is in session.
Obstruction of justice is punishable by prison time between 4 years and 2 months and 1 day up to 6 years only.
"The charge for direct assault is also fabricated. For how could I, alone and unarmed, assault the more than 20 armed police officers? Again, they cannot arrest me for direct assault because the prescribed penalty for this offense does not exceed 6 years of imprisonment," said Crisologo.
The 17th Congress, however, had suspended session from February 9 to May 19 to give way to the 2019 campaign period and the midterm elections.
But for Crisologo, Congress was still in session at that time.
"It is true that we adjourned on February 8, 2019, but this does not mean that we are no longer in session from February 9 to May 9, 2019. We are in session during this period because the House of Representatives even conducted committee hearings.... The only time that it can be aptly said that we are not in session is when we adjourn sine die," said Crisologo.
He vowed to file cases against the Quezon City police over his "illegal arrest." – Rappler.com