MANILA - Two Makati City police officers were relieved from their posts after they were caught in a video inviting a random trans woman to the police station for alleged "profiling."
Makati City police chief Rogelio Simon said the police officers would undergo retraining and workshop on gender sensitivity. He did not disclose their names.
The police officers failed to explain whey they were inviting trans woman Anne Pelos to police headquarters on Friday, February 14, he said.
Pelos, in a Facebook video post, said she and her co-workers were walking along Makati Avenue when she was stopped by the police.
"Yan ang instruction sa amin ngayon... parang profiling naman 'yun," the police officer said in the video, which has garnered nearly 200,000 views and shared more than 4,000 times, when asked why they had to take Pelos.
(We were instructed to bring in [transgenders] for profiling.)
If the police officers clearly explained why she had to be brought to the police station, she was willing to go with them. She maintained she makes an honest living.
Simon also denied reports they have an operation called "Oplan X-Men" that goes after members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT).
It was only a misunderstanding, he said. They rescue women, including LGBT members, from illicit activities such as prostitution through "Oplan Magdalena."
Simon said he planned to meet with LGBT rights activists to prevent another incident from occurring.
But a Facebook page called Makati City Police Station Community Affairs and Development Section posted on Jan. 23 that they had invited 67 people for profiling following operations inside the Manila South Cemetery "followed by Oplan X-men" at Burgos, Poblacion, Makati City.
"Oplan X-men is an intensified operation that aims to rescue ladyboys from exploitation and human trafficking in ill repute areas," the Facebook page wrote.
HIGHLIGHTS LGBT HARASSMENT
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), in a statement issued Saturday, said it would conduct an investigation over the incident.
"While we recognize that there may be incidences when inviting individuals to a police station falls within the ambit of legitimate police duty, the public should, nevertheless, be cautious in agreeing to such request as it may be used to effect a warrantless arrest," the agency said.
"Our police officers are equally reminded that arresting individuals cannot be made based on whim and must follow strict guidelines, even detailed in the Philippine National Police’s ‘Know Your Rights: A Citizen’s Primer on Law Enforcement,'" the agency added.
The incident, CHR said, "highlights the violence and harassment experienced everyday by the LGBTQI community because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The agency called on lawmakers to pass the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill, which seeks to protect LGBT members from discrimination.
"It is also equally important to note that one of our best defenses against human rights violations is knowing our rights and understanding that laws and its enforcement should work to protect our freedoms—not curtail them," CHR said. - With a report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News