Militant lawmakers slam 'police brutality' at Nazareno 2020
MANILA, Philippines – Militant lawmakers on Friday, January 10, condemned "police brutality" against some devotees during the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene that marred the annual procession.
House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Isagani Zarate and fellow Bayan Muna Representative Eufemia Cullamat made the statements as the police reaped allegations of “undue violence” against some devotees.
"We condemn the use of excessive force by the PNP against the devotees. We have seen numerous pictures and videos pointing to the undue violence by police officers against devotees,” Zarate said in a statement.
"The violence perpetrated by the PNP marred the supposedly solemn and religious procession. To some extent it became a police march rather than a show of faith and devotion to the Black Nazarene," he added.
Zarate cited pictures that showed “numerous policemen…strangling a devotee and in others they manhandled a devotee and arrested him.”
He also cited the personal account of GMA7 reporter Jun Veneracion, who had narrated on Facebook how a police general suddenly took away his mobile phone as he recorded one incident, and even deleted the video. (READ: Southern Metro police chief snatches GMA reporter's phone, deletes video of Traslacion commotion)
“Fortunately, the deleted footage was recovered and even exposed how a ranking PNP official can peddle lies to cover-up their misdeeds,"Zarate said.
Zarate said the cops' "violent behavior" at Traslacion was “way out of hand” but added that this was “not surprising anymore” given their handling of the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs tainted by killings, “illegal arrests, planting of evidence.”
“The PNP, it appears, is out for blood even during this occasion of faith," he said.
Cullamat, for her part, called for an investigation of police human rights violations.
"Marapat na maimbestigahan ang mga kaso ng human rights violations ng mga pulis at baguhin ang kanilang kultura ng dahas laban sa mamamayan (It’s only right to investigate the cases of human rights violations of police and change their culture of violence against citizens)," she said.
Security measures implemented by the National Capital Region Police Office ensured a speedier procession, but devotees complained that that the measures, particularly a police barricade flanking the icon’s carriage, deprived them of the chance to fulfill their yearly devotion and caused more tension during the event. (READ: Faster Traslacion 2020 frustrates devotees)
An estimated 3.3 million Catholic devotees joined this year's Traslacion, which lasted for 16 hours. – Rappler.com