PNP chief downplays US bill

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    PNP CHIEF Gen. Camilo Cascolan yesterday downplayed a bill filed recently in the US, which seeks to block US assistance to the police force for alleged human rights violations.

    He said the PNP would not be affected as long as it has the support of President Duterte.

    “Walang problema po sa amin yan (we have no problem with that) for as long as the President supports the PNP, we are very very happy,” he said.

    Cascolan was asked to comment to the Philippine Human Rights Bill recently filed by Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild before the US Congress. The measure seeks to suspend US assistance to the PNP and Armed Forces for purported human rights violations.

    The bill, co-sponsored by 20 other lawmakers, sets a list of criteria for Philippines to follow before the assistance will be resumed.

    Wild also said he she introduced the bill in response to the Anti-Terrorism Law, which President Duterte signed in July. Wild said the ATL attacks activists and political opponents of President Duterte.

    Cascolan said US has an Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program with the PNP. He said US also provides schooling, training, seminars and conferences, on top of joint police exercises.

    “If they pull out their support from us, in no way it will affect the Philippine National Police.

    As I have said, as long as we have the support of our President Rodrigo Duterte, we will be doing our job and the morale of the PNP is still very high,” said Cascolan.

    On human rights abuses, Cascolan admitted that some policemen have committed such crimes but they have been administratively and criminally charged. He implied some of these crimes were committed in the war on drugs.

    He said the number of human rights abuses involving policemen has decreased.

    AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo has said it was unfair for the US lawmaker to use human rights abuses to suspend US assistance to the military.

    Arevalo has said soldiers are respecting human rights and there have been no reports of soldiers committing human rights abuses in recent years. He assured the military does not condone human rights violations in its ranks.