The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday slammed what they characterized as the discriminatory profiling of a transgender person by the Makati police.
The CHR was reacting to a viral video posted by trans woman Anne Pelos on Saturday, which showed her being “invited” for questioning by two cops in Makati. When Pelos, who was accompanied by colleagues, asked them why, one of the cops stated point-blank that it was because of “profiling.”
Pelos asked the cops why they were profiling her, but was told it would only be explained at the police precinct. The confrontation ended when Pelos refused to go with the police and left along with her colleagues.
“To all of the trannies, you should be careful when you’re on Makati Avenue,” Pelos wrote in the caption to her video, which has been shared almost 4,400 times. “Don’t walk alone. According to Mr. Police they will arrest all trans persons or they will be brought to the precinct because that’s the instruction given to them!”
Addressing Makati cops, Pelos, an employee of an outsourcing company, wrote, “Next time before you arrest someone, be sure they have an honest job. You can’t just bring anyone to a precinct!”
In its statement, the CHR said the public should be careful when dealing with cops who invite them for questioning.
“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 CHR said.
The CHR also used the case as an opportunity to call on lawmakers to pass the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill, which prohibits all forms of discrimination and violence against people based on their sexual expression or identity.
“This recent incident further highlights the violence and harassment experienced every day by the LGBTQI community because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and stresses the need to pass the SOGIE Equality Bill to bar and penalize all forms of discrimination against anyone, even including those who identify as straight,” it said.
“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.”
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that Makati police launched an initiative tastelessly dubbed “Oplan X-Men” in January, with the purported objective of rescuing trans women “from exploitation and human trafficking.” However, the operation seems more concerned with allegations that trans women prostitutes in the Poblacion area have been involved in a string of robberies targeting foreign men.
The Makati police have yet to speak about the issue, although Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said in a press conference today that people have the right to refuse to go to the police station when invited by an officer, especially when they know that they haven’t committed any crime, GMA News reports.
“If the invitation is pure invitation, if you don’t want to go, you can always refuse,” Gamboa said, adding that he would look into Makati’s alleged Oplan X-Men.
In August 2019, trans woman Gretchen Diez became a lightning rod for controversy when she was arrested in a Quezon City mall. The trouble started when Diez insisted on using the women’s lavatory, which the mall’s staff forbade her to do. The mall’s management later apologized.
This article, Commission on Human Rights slams alleged ‘profiling’ of trans woman by Makati cops, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!