Palace justifies surveillance, raids in activist groups’ offices

MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday said it sees nothing wrong with the joint operations conducted by police and military personnel in offices of activist groups who were suspected to be militants in Bacolod City and Metro Manila.

The government policy is always to investigate complaints on criminal activities and if they have evidence, then they will take action, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said security forces have the basis to conduct raids if evidence shows that they have been engaged in criminal activities.

He pointed out that security forces have to conduct surveillance as long as they had a basis to do so.

On Oct. 31, security forces conducted joint operations in offices of activist groups including Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Gabriela, and Negros Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) which led to the arrest of at least 60 suspected militants, including 13 minors.

The law enforcers found that some activist group members had firearms, explosives, and subversive documents.

In a column published on Sun Star, Karapatan claimed that evidence was planted in their offices and described their raids as Gestapoesque or similar to raids conducted by the secret state police in Nazi Germany noted for its brutal methods of interrogation.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar slammed these allegations insisting that no individuals were harmed during the operations.

Andanar pointed out that military and police secured search warrants before conducting joint operations. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency