Secret marshals back on streets

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 December, 1995, 12:00am

POLICE martial law tactics that were successful during the Marcos era will be used to combat a rising crime wave.

The National Police yesterday announced they would reactivate the 'secret marshals' whose extra-judicial executions of suspected criminals sowed fear in Metro Manila during the 20 years of the Marcos regime.

But the plainclothes marshals would only be used to conduct surveillance operations against criminal syndicates and terrorist groups, National Police director General Recaredo Sarmiento said.

At the same time, National Bureau of Investigation Director Mariano Mison proposed 'warrantless arrests on probable grounds' similar to the powers available to the police during the Marcos era.

But political observers believe the recommendation is not likely to be accepted by the Congress, the Senate or President Fidel Ramos.

The reactivation of the secret marshals came in the wake of three ambushes and a bank robbery this week which left five people dead, including a Filipino-Chinese industrialist, five-year-old boy, a police bodyguard and a traffic policeman, and three wounded.

The secret marshals will complement Manila's 12,000-strong police force.

House of Representatives Speaker Jose de Venccia said the decision to recruit the new policemen had been made by Mr Ramos before he left for the Association of Southeast Asian Nation leaders' summit in Bangkok.