MANILA, Philippines – If the Philippine National Police (PNP) wants a human rights-based approach in maintaining peace and order, they have to go back to the basics – that is, review if this is even being taught in criminology schools in the country.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) made this recommendation in the aftermath of its discovery of a "torture jail" run by intelligence police in Biñan, Laguna, where police allegedly used a roulette to decide which form or torture to inflict on detainees held in a "lock-up" cell.
"We have the anti-torture law and we train our police. Despite that, we still have cases of human rights abuse like in Biñan," said CHR Chairperson Etta Rosales during a press conference on Thursday, February 6.
Criminology courses in the Philippines, said Rosales, do not include classes or modules on human rights.
The Philippine Public Safety College is the "premier educational institution" where uniformed personnel of the attached agencies of the Department of the Interior and Local Government – the PNP, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Bureau of Fire Protection – are sent for "training, human resource development, and continuing education."
Rosales said a review of police academies and courses has been a long time coming. In 2011, the Philippine College of Criminology accepted as instructor Police Inspector Joselito Binayug, a Manila policeman caught on camera torturing a suspected robber.
Binayug taught Crime Detection Investigation in the college even after being dismissed by the PNP. "Why is he teaching when he was the one caught pulling the strings tied to the genitals of the suspect?" said Rosales.
Binayug was eventually arrested and charged for violating the Anti-Torture Act.
The CHR, the Philippine Public Safety College, and the PNP on Thursday also signed a "pledge of commitment" to the La Breza Declaration, which was signed in December last year.
The La Breza Declaration is an agreement between the CHR, the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other groups involved in law enforcement to strengthen the level of human rights work in the Philippines.