PNP to Parojinog witnesses: Bring your claims to court

TO THE COURT. PNP spokesperson Dionardo Carlos asks witnesses to bring their accounts to court. Rappler file photo

TO THE COURT. PNP spokesperson Dionardo Carlos asks witnesses to bring their accounts to court.

Rappler file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Witnesses who contest the narrative of the police in the Parojinog home raid should stand up to their claims and bring them to court, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Dionardo Carlos said on Friday, August 4.

"I would suggest that they present their witnesses before the criminal proceedings. It's going to be the right way," Carlos told reporters when asked how the police took the opposing claims.

He said witnesses should do so to lead to appropriate charges against them. This is because police and courts usually rule media reports as hearsay unless the witnesses step up to submit legally sworn statements. (READ: Manila Police to 'killer' cop witnesses: Stand by your claims)

This comes after witnesses have come to media to tell a different story of the early-morning raid – that the family did not fight back, and the police fired the first shot.

Carlos said they are open to the claims, suggesting that they "reduce" their stories to affidavits.

"Kasi kung sa tingin nila may violation, karapatan nilang makapagsampa ng kaso...kung may makikita naman silang pagkakamali sa operating team, karapatan din nilang i-presenta . Korte yung the best" Carlos said.

(Because if they think there is a violation, it is their right to file a case, and if they see something wrong with the operating team, it is also their right to present [evidence]. The court is best.)

As is standard operating procedure in casualty-resulting operations, the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has begun to probe the operation, Carlos added.

Irregular operation?

Red flags have been raised on the search operation that turned bloody. (READ: TIMELINE: Parojinog, from Duterte's narco list to a bloody raid)

Lawyer of the detained Parojinog siblings Ferdinand Topacio suspected the presence of "excessive brutality" in the operation.

"Pati mga babae, pati ina, namatay (Even women, even mothers, died)? I think the magnitude of the killings is grossly disproportionate to a legitimate operation," Topacio said earlier.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also said the service of the search warrant was "suspicious" as the operation launched before dawn.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa defended the service of the search warrant, saying that police begin operations at the time that gives them "maximum advantage."

However, no less than Dela Rosa himself tagged the paralysis of security cameras before the raid as "wrong", which was done to cloak the identities of civilian informants who helped the police.

To complement the IAS probe, an investigation from outside the PNP is also being pursued by the Commission on Human Rights. -

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.