Marking of suspected drug pushers’ houses in Davao stalled

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /13 Feb) – The city police’s plan to spray paint today, Wednesday, houses of suspected drug pushers here with “X” was stalled by an order from higher headquarters as it is a violation of human rights.

City police chief Ronald dela Rosa said in a phone interview Wednesday his office received Tuesday evening an order from higher headquarters, which he refused to cite whether regional or national, to avert the plan.

He said his superiors learned about his plan that was supposed to be done this morning that would involve 40 houses in Mini-Forest and 37 houses in Isla Verde, Barangay 23-C here.

With the averted plan to mark the identified houses, Dela Rosa said that his team instead did a house-to-house visit to the suspects, who range from teenagers to senior citizens.

“They admitted that they had been selling illegal drugs but promised not to do it anymore,” Dela Rosa said.

He mentioned that the 77 suspects were mostly “small time,” while those considered “big time,” including 16 of the barangay chairman’s relatives, had already relocated.

Barangay captain Amil Bangsa Manding earlier submitted to the police a list of names suspected to deal illegal drugs, 16 of them his relatives.

Dela Rosa said they are now in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, noting that they remain in the city police’s wanted list.

The police chief earlier told reporters that he was confident to do the marking of drug pushers’ houses, saying, “Giyera na kung gyera! (Let there be war!)”

Sought for comment before Dela Rosa issued the statement, lawyer Carlos Isagani Zarate, Bayan Muna partylist second nominee, said the plan will infringe on the suspect’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court as it is tantamount to the police convincing him without filing a case.

“If they spray paint the house of a person without his consent, that in itself is an offense, and a violation of a person’s right to privacy, and right to be secured in his residence,” Zarate stressed.

Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, on the other hand, said he support the police’s plan.

In his regular television program, “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa”, last Sunday, Duterte pushed for the practice of citizen’s arrest in ridding the city of illegal drug pushers.

He encouraged the public to do what a policeman can do, saying that civilians can also use force in arresting a suspect as long as the latter is showing resistance in any form. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)