Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas (NCRPO photo)

Several undercover agents of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will be stationed in and around Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City to arrest any illegal protesters who will try to hold demonstrations, according to NCRPO Chief Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, who also violated quarantine rules to celebrate his birthday. 

“We won’t set them free just like that anymore, just to show them that we mean business,” Metro Manila’s controversial head cop said at a press conference Monday morning. 

“No discussion. If anyone brings out a placard, they’re arrested right away,” Sinas stressed.

Sinas also said that protesters will be requested first to leave the vicinity and those who refuse will be brought to the Quezon City Police District headquarters at Camp Tomas Caringal aboard the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s mobile detention van.

Under the general community quarantine setting, holding mass gatherings, like Sinas’ controversial birthday party for example, is strictly prohibited. 

Meanwhile, Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, chief of the national police, told at his press briefing on Monday July 27 that they will arrest all protesters, contrary to his statement on July 20 that the police force will practice maximum tolerance.”

“The IATF says that gatherings should be not more than ten [people]… once you conglomerate and you number to ten, no more questions asked, we will arrest you,” Gamboa said Monday morning. 

Repeat violators will be charged with violating Republic Act No. 11332.

On the other hand, protesters are allowed to hold demonstrations inside the UP campus.

Despite the PNP’s confident stand on arrest without questions, they are obligated to follow their own operational procedures. Under it, police officers should practice maximum tolerance multiple times (Rule 25.1 and Rule 28.6) while under the Use of Force Continuum rule states that light force should be applied only when firm language and verbal directives fail.

Also Rule 25 of the Revised PNP Operational Procedures states the following: 

  • The PNP shall not interfere with the holding of a public assembly…No public assembly with a permit shall be dispersed. However, when a public assembly becomes violent, the civil disturbance management contingents may disperse such public assembly.
  • No arrest of any leader, organizer, or participant shall be made unless he violates during the assembly a law, statute, or ordinance…Respect for human rights and equal treatment and protection for everybody shall be strictly observed; and PNP personnel shall observe maximum tolerance
  • Police are instructed to observe maximum tolerance in all dispersal operations as far as rallies and demonstrations are concerned. 
  • A civil disturbance management (CDM) contingent shall also be in prescribed uniform and may not carry with them firearms, as only in the event of violence, threat of violence, and deliberate destruction of property (at which point the Ground Commander shall issue a warning that a dispersal will be implemented should the activity continue) may anti-riot devices such as tear gas, smoke grenades, water cannons, and other similar apparatuses be used.  (RJ Espartinez)