AFP denies harassing militants in arresting alleged activists
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denies the harassment claims by militant groups following the arrest of dozens of suspected activist in recent law enforcement operations in Bacolod and Manila.
"There was no harassment. How can there be one if the search is covered by appropriate warrants issued by the court? That we submitted our application for search warrant to the scrutiny of the issuing judge and the latter finds probable cause to issue a SW shows that there are sufficient grounds to conduct the search," said Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, in a statement Friday.
"The law enforcers applied for search warrants and that they used in the operation, they are public officers whose actions are official. At the very least, they are clothed with presumption of regularity," he added.
Arevalo said the militant group should prove their allegations evidence recovered during law enforcement operations were just planted by government forces.
"There is this legal maxim that says, 'He who makes the assertions has the burden of proving his claim.' Therefore, if they allege that the 32 firearms, 130 rounds of ammunition, and five pieces of explosives were planted by lawmen, they must prove so," he said.
Arevalo said the militants claim being a legitimate organization does not exempt them from legal process.
"No one is above the law. By claiming that they are legitimate organizations (this) does not make them exempted from legal processes," he said.
"Even homes of military or police officials, or of private individuals for that matter, they are not beyond the powers of the court to order a search," said Arevalo.
"If they feel aggrieved, the proper resort is with the courts," he added. Robina Asido/DMS