By Erma Edera
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said the rights of crime suspects in the nation’s capital were never violated whenever he presented them to public.
This, after detained Senator Leila de Lima reminded him of human rights violations in presenting suspected criminals in press briefings.
READ MORE: De Lima cautions Manila Mayor Moreno vs presenting crime suspects to public
Moreno presented to the media some 35 drug suspects caught in different drug operations last week.
“You are entitled to your own opinion but for the meantime, being the Mayor of Manila, I have an obligation to clear the city of criminals. Hindi ko naman sila hinihiya although mga walanghiya ito, (I don’t shame them even if what they do is shameful), he said.
“Inaalagaan ko pa nga pagkakakilanlan nila sa harap ng publiko. Pero kailangan makita ng mga taga-Maynila na may warm body (I even protect their identity before the public. But my constituents must see there is warm body),” he added.
The Manila chief said they want to show the public how serious his administration in the illegal drug campaign.
Puwede tayong usapang laway lang pero kung nakikita niyo talaga, hindi ba ito magbibigay ng kapanatagan? Hindi ba ito patunay na seryoso kami sa kampaniya? Paano yung human rights ng gusto matulog ng mahimbing?” (We want to show this is not just lip service. This will show how serious we are in this campaign. Think about the human rights of those who want to sleep soundly),” he said.
De Lima said in a statement that such practice is a violation of the suspected criminals’ constitutional right to presumption of innocence as they are subjected to unwanted publicity.
“Nakita po natin ang pagsisikap ni Mayor Isko na patalikurin ang mga nasabing suspek at maitago ang kanilang mukha. Gayumpaman, naiharap pa rin sila sa mga kawani ng media at mga taong naroon,(We saw the mayor’s intent to hide the suspects’ faces. However, their faces were still shown to members of the media and other people at the press conference),” De Lima said.
She said she would file a bill that would give the injunction against public presentation of suspects “more teeth”.
“To give this injunction against public presentation of suspects more teeth and the character of mandatoriness, I’ll be filing a bill soon explicitly proscribing such practice,” she said.
Last July, the senator lauded Moreno for his commitment to respect human rights in the capital city’s campaign against illegal drugs.