The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is not pleased with the “arestoaguinaldo” Christmas prank made by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Cebu City on Dec. 15 and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Dec. 13.

Commission on Human Rights (MANILA BULLETIN)
Commission on Human Rights (MANILA BULLETIN)

Arestoaguinaldo is a fake arrest. Cops would go to the work areas of “suspects” and they would be brought inside police vehicles. But instead of heading towards the police station, the cops would surprise the “suspects” with gifts.

CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia said that serving an arrest warrant is a law enforcement process that must be carried out within the rigors of due process and in the name of rule of law.

“Such process should not be trifled with nor diminished into a prank for it impacts fundamental rights and law enforcement is no laughing matter,” she said.

De Guia added that the fake arrest has serious implications that may cause distress and humiliation to the suspects and those in authority should not abuse the power that has been vested on them.

“In the context of prevalent red-tagging, the unresolved ‘nanlaban’ cases in the anti-drug campaign, and various arrests made in the implementation of quarantine rules, such prank may also heighten the worry of individuals who may have developed mistrust towards law enforcers,” said De Guia.

“This may also further stress out individuals who may be enduring anxiety due to the ongoing pandemic and the challenging economic situation,” she added.

The CHR said they understand that Filipinos enjoy a good laugh and the police only want to bring cheer to citizens. However, De Guia said the use of police power to showcase generosity and compassion is an unnecessary display of power.

“We call for the leadership of PNP to take due action and for the local PNP to implement a more sensitive approach during the yuletide season,” she said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (