It was a jarring sight this morning to see a video of a naked man being beaten inside a police station, and I could only wince as the man writhed in pain; apparently, a rope was tied to his private parts, and his tormentor was intermittently yanking the rope as he delivered a beating to the victim.
According to the news, the incident occurred in PS 7 in Tondo, Manila. The victim was an alleged holdup suspect, and the tormentor was allegedly a policeman in shorts and shirt. The sheer obvious violation of human rights was enough to get the entire detachment relieved of duty and recalled to their main station; the policemen involved are now facing administrative, and maybe even criminal, charges.
Police brutality is nothing new; thanks to the vestiges of martial law, our policemen have often been caught resorting to illegal and criminal means to deal with criminal suspects. Nevertheless, the video captures in graphic detail the extent of police brutality that is present today. Still, just because one has been accused of a crime doesn’t rob that person of his or her human rights. Police have to follow due process in dealing with suspects, and file the proper charges in court if the evidence is strong enough to condemn the suspect. The police shouldn’t have to resort to brutal means to convict or punish wrongdoers. It is this sort of incident that doesn’t engender trust in our law enforcement officials.
I feel sorry for PNP Director Jesus Verzosa, who has opted for early retirement later this year, that he has this incident to punctuate his stint as police chief. When he was first appointed, he had to deal with the “euro generals” scandal, where high-ranking PNP officers were caught sneaking thousands of euros into Russia. Now, before he leaves, he has to deal with a vicious case of police brutality. Hopefully, he still has time to put into place reforms that will discourage such practices before he rides out into the sunset.