MANILA—Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Friday described the reported ‘hidden cell’ inside a Manila Police District station as a “challenge” to the Philippine National Police (PNP) which needs to resolved quickly.
“This is definitely another big challenge that the PNP leadership has to resolve with dispatch. There is no other way,” Lacson, former PNP chief said in a statement.
The senator made this remark following reports that 12 people were found inside a “hidden cell” at the Manila Police District Station 1 in Tondo after members of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) conducted a surprise inspection.
The CHR was reportedly tipped by an informant about a secret cell hidden behind a book shelf and that police extorted money from them.
The report also said that MPD Station 1 chief Superintendent Robert Domingo denied this and said that the area is only a holding room for persons yet to undergo inquest proceedings because their regular cells were full.
“If true, these policemen are no better than the kidnap-for-ransom gangs that I used to chase throughout my law enforcement career,” Lacson said.
He, meanwhile, said that police responsible should be given the same treatment as criminals.
“Those responsible must therefore be treated no differently from those criminal syndicates that they themselves are mandated to neutralize,” he added.
Liberal Party acting president Sen. Francis Pangilinan, like Lacson, said that the matter should be investigated thoroughly and that those involved are “swiftly punished.”
Pangilinan cited several cases were members of the PNP have abused their office “under the guise of the war on drugs” and urged authorities to address what he described as a “systematic pattern of abuse.”