Witness exposes alleged Antipolo druggie cops

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2016 05:25 AM

Senator Leila De Lima, chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, gestures as she stands near relatives of slain people during a Senate hearing investigating drug-related killings at the Senate headquarters in Pasay City, metro Manila, Philippines August 22, 2016. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters.

MANILA – A woman on Monday accused several policemen in Antipolo of being involved in the drug trade.

Mary Rose Aquino said her parents, Rodelio and Rosalie Campos, were found dead in the third week of June -- just a few days before President Rodrigo Duterte took power -- allegedly after meeting up with policemen whom they had worked for.

Aquino, who concealed her face as she appeared before a Senate public hearing, said her parents helped at least 30 Antipolo policemen in ''recycling'' seized illegal drugs. She also alleged that she once saw policemen using illegal drugs in their home.

''They were supposed to remit drug money that day. That was supposed to be their last because they wanted to quit the illegal activity,'' Aquino said

Aquino's allegation dismayed Philippine National Police Ronald dela Rosa, a key figure in Duterte's massive campaign against illegal drugs.

Dela Rosa told reporters after the hearing that he has ordered the relief of the Antipolo cops implicated in the death of the couples.

''Sa narinig ko sa testimonya, ako mismo naghahanap ako ng hustisya. I will never tolerate this to happen. Nagpapasalamat ako at sinabi niya (Aquino) iyan. Dahil additional iyan sa mga scalawag na pulis na nadidiskubre ko. I will not take this sitting down,'' dela Rosa said.

(I will find justice for them myself. I will never tolerate this. I thank her for her testimony because this helps us in finding 'scalawags' within the organization. I will not take this sitting down.)

Dela Rosa said based on the official police report on the case of the Campos couple, Rodelio was killed on June 20 during a police operation while Rosalie's body was found the following day in a different location.

According to Aquino, however, her mother had sent a text message to her uncle stating that in case she would be found dead, a policeman she only identified as ''Hong'' would be the one to blame.

Aquino's allegations, if proven to be true, highlights a key challenge that the administration faces in its crusade against illegal drugs – the presence of ''bad eggs'' within the police organization.

Doubts are now being cast over how some anti-drug operations are being carried out, with human rights advocates questioning why the police always argue that drug suspects were killed after attempting to fight back.

The spate of killings perpetrated by unidentified assailants has also alarmed critics of the Duterte administration. Dela Rosa has said these killings are most likely perpetrated by drug syndicates who are purging their ranks.

Dela Rosa said that 712 drug traffickers and users had been killed during police operations. The police were also investigating 1,067 drug-related killings outside police work, Dela Rosa said.

Monitoring by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group show that there have been 1,158 drug-related deaths from May 10 to August 22. 

Of this number, 699 were killed in police operations and 362 were killed by unidentified assailants. Ninety-seven bodies were found away from the crime scene.