The Philippine National Police (PNP) has renewed its call for the need to modernize its systems and equipment, vowing to push for this in order to ensure proper law enforcement.
This remark came from PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac following the arrest of Davao Today columnist Margarita Valle. Valle has since been released, but she was held for some time due to a case of mistaken identity.
“The PNP shall endeavor to push for modernization of its systems and equipment that will be capable of real-time validation of information to aid our operating units in performing the mission to enforce the law and serve court processes against wanted persons diligently, judiciously and effectively with utmost respect for human rights,” Banac told reporters.
Banac expressed his regrets to Valle, saying the police understand the ordeal that the veteran journalist went through.
Valle, a veteran journalist, was arrested at the Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental on June 9. She was waiting for a flight home to Davao City.
“The mistaken arrest of Ms. Margarita Valle is indeed too regrettable. In fact, the Regional Chief (of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) Colonel (Tom) Tuzon has already asked for understanding and expressed sincerest apology,” said Banac.
“We assure the public that a full-dress investigation is now in progress to determine culpability for the apparent lapses and oversight to prevent similar incidents in future police operations,” he added.
PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde directed on Monday that an inquiry be conducted into the matter by the Internal Affairs Service (IAS). The investigation will look not only into how the identity of Valle was mistaken, but also into the strength of the case built up against the suspect she was mistaken for, particularly to understand why the joint team of police and military personnel conducted the arrest.
The investigation will also look into any possible lapses in the police personnel involved in the operation.
According to the report of the incident, Valle was mistaken for a certain Elsa Renton. Renton hs a standing arrest warrant against her over charges of multiple murders, frustrated murder, and damage to government properties. Renton has reportedly used aliases, namely
Tina Maglaya and Fidelina Margarita Valle y Avellanosa, among others.
Following her arrest, Valle was brought to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) office in Zamboanga City. She was held there until an informant confirmed that Valle was not the actual suspect. Following this, she was released.
Reportedly, Valle and the suspect have a “major resemblance”, which led to further confusion until the informant’s confirmation.
Chief Albayalde said that the PNP will assist Valle should she file a complaint against the arresting officers.