Social media was abuzz with reports of an alleged “warrantless search” committed by alleged police officers against some UP students in Teachers’ Village.
According to the post that went viral around Facebook and Twitter, several UP students were accosted by purported police officers on 24 August 2018, on or about 10:30 PM in an area near Maginhawa Street. These students were allegedly instructed to raise their shirts and took their photos without their consent.
According to one of the victims, who refused to reveal his name for fear of reprisal, they were walking along B. Baluyot Street going to Ministop near Maginhawa Street when the incident occurred. “We were just craving for ice cream and decided to go to Ministop, tapos nangyari ‘yon. Until now, natatakot parin kami habang naglalakad sa Maginhawa,” he said.
PNP, barangay police, deny “warrantless search”
Following the social media post, police officials denied involvement in the incident. Members of the barangay police also belied the social media post.
According to PO1 Mario Guillermo of the District Mobile Force Battalion – Tourist Police, roving police patrols do not cover the mentioned areas. “Kahit naman po ang mga kapulisan natin sa Station 9 [Anonas Police Station] at [Camp] Karingal, hindi nag-ro-roving dito,” he said. PNP’s denial is supported by the barangay police on duty.
According to Fernando Dela Peña, executive officer of the barangay tanod for Barangay Teachers’ Village East, there were no reports of such incident on that day. “Gabi-gabi, lima talaga ang naka-deploy na mga tanod, pang-lima ako. Sabi ng mga kasamahan ko, wala namang ganung nangyari” he explained.
While there were closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) in the area, their coverage did not extend to the exact location of the incident.
B. Baluyot Street is within the jurisdiction of Barangay Krus Na Ligas. Barangay officials, however, denied these allegations since no report or blotter were filed.
“Ang nakasulat lang po dito ay hanggang 8:40 PM lang,” said Buksh Dolores, desk officer of Barangay Krus Na Ligas.
According to Willy Fulgencio, a former barangay kagawad and now chief of staff of Barangay Krus na Ligas, a team composed of several barangay tanod, kagawad, and two police officers from Anonas Station patrolled the jurisdiction from 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM.
Fulgencio, however, denied that it was their team who committed the alleged “warrantless search.” “Sinisita lang namin yung mga menor de edad na nasa kalsada tuwing gabi, lalo na yung mga nag-ko-kompyuter,” he said.
University Student Council (USC) Councilor Rein Gallardo, Head of the USC Safety and Security Committee, expressed disbelief over the denial of the authorities. “In so far as the victims’ statements are concerned, may accounts na nagbigay on this matter, and witnesses to corroborate it,” he asserted.
Gallardo added that the USC has been coordinating with the UP Diliman Police to address the incident. “The action point now to prevent the presence of uniformed personnel, and illegal searches and seizures is to implement a centralized reporting mechanism. The instructions on how to report incidents for proper response are now posted in the USC page” he explained. ##