Police arrested a man in UP Village early Saturday morning on suspicion of drug possession.
That is, police took him to the station on Anonas for allegedly being caught red handed with illegal drugs–in the words of police procedural shows, it was “to wit: marijuana”–and he went with them.
The official story is the suspect was caught by village watchmen but he resisted arrest and two police cars of the Quezon City Police District had to be called in.
The suspect, unnamed because he’s still a suspect and because I didn’t catch his name, didn’t so much resist as walk away from five watchmen who allegedly caught him with the drugs. He went into one of the establishments in the area not so much to hide out as to chill.
A police car showed up around twenty minutes later but the police and watchmen did not go into the establishment until a second police car arrived after another ten minutes.
The suspect left with them without much resistance.
It’s interesting, though, that anything could have happened to the drugs that were supposedly seized from him in the time it took the police to arrive and actually effect the arrest. Who’s to say the watchmen seized that much drugs from the suspect, or if any drugs were seized at all?
According to the Manual on Anti-Illegal Drugs Operation and Investigation, “the apprehending team shall immediately arrest the person found to be violating in flagrante the provisions of RA 9165.” The seized evidence should also have been inventoried immediately.
It’s not clear whether village watchmen could have actually arrested the suspect or if they can be considered seizing officers since the manual defines arresting and seizing officers as members of the police.
It was clear, though, that he was not under arrest for at least half an hour. Time enough to flee, which, I suppose, someone resisting arrest would do.
I feel that whatever informed adults put in their bodies is their business. There are laws, though, and breaking them carries the risk of getting caught and punished.
Arrests and punishment cannot be done arbitrarily, though. That is why there are things called procedures and chain of custody and rights.
Unfortunately, getting caught even in an irregular arrest does not mean you’re home free. There are stories of people having to cough up tens of thousands of pesos to make what is essentially–again, in the parlance of police procedurals–a bullshit charge go away.