PNP Laoag denies being ‘unfair,’ steps up ‘Oplan Sita’

Legal Rights

Police authorities here on Friday vowed to further intensify their operations against loose firearms and other forms of election-related crimes, even as they denied accusations from a former lawmaker of being “unfair.”

Laoag police chief, Lt. Col. Joemar Labiano, issued the statement in a press conference late afternoon as he reiterated that police interventions – including “Oplan Sita” and the setting up of checkpoints – are meant to ensure peaceful elections and stop election-related crimes in the city.

The PNP called for a press conference on Friday to shed light on the accusations of former Congressman Rodolfo Fariñas that the police force here is “unfair” in conducting operations with the establishment of a checkpoint near their residence in Barangay Barit here, including the conduct of a series of search warrant operations on their political supporters.

On Thursday, a video of Fariñas trended online as he accused police officers of hiding their names during what seemed like a checkpoint operation near his residence.

In the video, Fariñas berated the police officers wearing bandoliers and protective vests with long firearms saying, their act is “illegal” because their names are not visible during the operation.

Under the revised PNP operational procedures in conducting checkpoints, PNP personnel are required to make their nameplates visible at all times.

But city police chief, Lt. Col. Joemar Labiano, clarified on Friday that the said simultaneous operations of the PNP in various strategic locations in the city are different from a regular checkpoint operation as they form part of their intensified campaign called ‘Oplan Sita’ against anti-criminality.

Hence, the wearing of bomb suits, ballistic suits, and protective vests for their protection during these kinds of operations.

“Laoag City is currently under the orange category or included as one of the areas of immediate concern in the national and local elections. So, you will expect more intensified police operations for the preservation of life, public safety and security,” Labiano said.

Of the total 180 police officers in Laoag, Major Jepphre Taccad, Ilocos Norte police spokesperson, said only 50 vests were issued to them.

With this, Taccad said an additional budget is needed so each PNP personnel could have a personalized protective vest, including a body camera, during police operations.

Taccad said even if their personnel get “bullied,” they will continue to adhere to maximum tolerance whenever they encounter problems as they maintain professionalism in the conduct of their duties as law enforcers.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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