By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) vehemently denied harassment claims of militant groups following the recent series of law enforcement operations in Bacolod City and Manila, which resulted in the arrest of dozens of suspected militants.
“How can there be one if the search is covered by appropriate warrants issued by the court? That we submitted our application for Search Warrant (SW) to the scrutiny of the issuing judge and the latter finds probable cause to issue an SW shows that there are sufficient grounds to conduct the search,” said AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, in a statement, forwarded to reporters Thursday night.
Regarding claims that the firearms and explosives, which were reportedly confiscated from the suspects were planted by government troops, Arevalo said these allegations must be proven by those arrested in court.
“There is this legal maxim that says, ‘He who makes the assertions has the burden of proving his claim.’ Therefore, if they allege that the 32 firearms, 130 rounds of ammunition, and five pieces of explosives were planted by lawmen, they must prove so,” he added.
Arevalo said the actions of the law enforcers who applied for warrants used in operations are presumed to be official.
“At the very least, they are clothed with the presumption of regularity,” he added.
He added that claims made by these groups stating that they are legitimate organizations do not mean that they are above the law.
“By claiming that they are legitimate organizations does not make them exempted from legal processes. Even homes of military or police officials, or of private individuals for that matter, they are not beyond the powers of the court to order a search. If they feel aggrieved, the proper resort is with the courts,” Arevalo said. (PNA)