Sunday, June 14, 2020

Manila residents in standoff with cops

A standoff ensued between residents of San Andres Bukid, Manila and the police on Friday after two watchlisted suspects were arrested with illegal drugs that the family claimed had been planted.

Saadudin Alawiya and Abdullah Maute were arrested in what the Manila Police District’s Ermita station called a drug bust at the suspects’ house.

Alawiya and Maute, however, claimed police broke down the door and barged into the house without a search warrant, in violation of the right to domicile, their relative, lawyer Dalomilang Paramihan, said yesterday.

“They wanted me to sign in the inventory. I said, I don’t want to legitimize your illegal act. If this is a buy-bust, you don’t need to break down the door. A police officer then called me a good-for-nothing lawyer,” Paramihan said.
Residents blocked the passageways after the suspects’ relatives claimed the 38 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu valued at P258,400 were planted.

In a Facebook Live video uploaded by Alyanhessa Mognie, residents were seen gathering and accusing the police of breaching the peace in their neighborhood.

They also accused the police of pointing their firearms at residents and children in the area.

“Wala na pong social distancing pasyensya na po. Pinagtatanggol lang namin kamag-anak namin (No more social distancing. We apologize. We are just defending our relative),” a resident was heard saying in the video.

“COVID daw kaaway ngayon, pero namumuhay kami ng payapa dito, ni-raid kami (COVID is the enemy, but we were living peacefully when we were raided),” another one said, referring to the coronavirus disease 2019.

Ermita police station chief Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan stood by the legitimacy of the operation, adding that the police conducted pre-operations and coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for the sting.
“There wasn’t a standoff. Everything was settled when we talked with the Muslim leaders about the nature of the case,” he said.

Caramoan claimed the operation was held in the house after the suspects failed to appear at the agreed venue for the drug deal.

He warned residents that they may face charges of obstruction of justice for blocking the police after the sting.

One of the suspects, Maute, was cleared by the National Bureau of Investigation of being related to the terrorist group, Paramihan said.