Netizen raises concerns over the PNP’s house-to-house anti-drug operations

Netizen raises concerns over the PNP’s house-to-house anti-drug operations

Last August 15, a netizen voiced out her concerns on Facebook regarding the door-to-door operations the PNP (Philippine National Police) is conducting as part of the current administration’s campaign against the proliferation and use of illegal drugs.

Facebook user Aissa Ereñeta related that “BF Homes residents are reporting that police and barangay officials have been going door-to-door to conduct drug-related searches. Apparently, this is happening all over Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa.”

As uploaded by FB User Aissa Ereñeta.

As uploaded by FB User Aissa Ereñeta.

Section 2, Chapter IV of the Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Specifically, the provision states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”

Despite this, Ereñeta wondered “how it looks when they tell you that all your neighbors cooperated in the search and if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to be worried about. Defending your civil liberties is now taken as an admission of guilt.”

In explaining Oplan Tokhang (from toktok-hangyo, Visayan for “knock and plead;” the PNP’s barangay-level, door-to-door anti-drug program) last June, then incoming PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa was quoted by as saying, “Pag-open ng door, kinakausap natin. Hindi naman siguro tayo ma-charge ng violation of domicile kay hindi ka man papasok sa bahay.” (When they open the door, we’ll just talk to them. I don’t think we will be charged with violation of domicile if we don’t actually enter their houses.)

A few people, however, do not find this the least bit assuring. Facebook user George Francisco likens the situation to similar instances during Martial Law and even Nazi Germany: “Are we living in a police state? What next? Will they start asking us to wear special symbols on our person to more easily segregate us? This just feels wrong, like Nazi Germany wrong. Also, it occurs to me that the usual justification used this time around is ‘drug problem’, whereas during the Marcos Regime wasn’t it “communist subversive elements’?”

kung di papayag na i-search without search warrant,” said Marilou Pia, “seguradong suspect ka na kasi takot ka, kasi may tinatago ka.” (If you don’t agree to getting searched without a search warrant, you will surely be tagged as a suspect. You are scared and so, you have something to hide.)

The Oplan apparently, is already being conducted in barangays all over Metro Manila. Marla Darwin shared that “It’s also starting in Pasig. My friend’s house in San Antonio Village was visited last Sunday.”

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