PNP to probe alleged unlawful arrest of trans woman Gretchen Diez

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 20) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) will conduct an investigation into the arrest of transgender woman Gretchen Diez, who was barred from using the women's restroom in a Cubao mall and handcuffed for videotaping the incident.

“Maybe there were lapses committed, so we'll look into that case,” PNP Women and Children Protection Center Chief PBGen. William Macavinta said on Tuesday during a Senate panel’s hearing on the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Equality Bill.

Diez was prevented from using a women's restroom in Farmers Plaza in Cubao, Quezon City on August 13. She was brought from the mall to the Cubao police station. Police then brought her to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center for her medical exam, after which she was moved to the Quezon City Police District's Anti-Cybercrime Division in Camp Karingal. In most part of the ordeal, she was handcuffed.

Diez revealed a police officer ordered the mall security to handcuff her from the back. Senator Risa Hontiveros added the police “toyed” with the trans woman, claiming they couldn’t remove the handcuffs because the keys were missing.

“Inutusan po ng pulis 'yung gwardya na posasan po ako nang patalikod dahil minsan na daw po siyang natakasan, so baka makatakas daw po ako. Standard operating procedure daw po,” Diez said.

[Translation: The police ordered the guard to handcuff me from the back because he didn't want to risk my escape. He said that was the standard operating procedure.]

Macavinta said it was uncalled for because the crime allegedly committed by Diez was unclear, but what’s clear is that she is the victim in the incident.

“In police intervention, you can handcuff a person. Kapag hindi suspect, kung walang malinaw na (crime), definitely they cannot do that. In fact, lumalabas dito na biktima po siya,” he said.

Hontiveros said the “excessive and abusive behavior” shown by the police creates further trauma for the queer community experiencing discrimination.

Diez has filed a complaint before the Quezon City Pride Council against Araneta Center and its contracted security and sanitation agencies for the discrimination she experienced.