MANILA - The head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday he was against vigilantes as he reminded his men at the forefront of President Rodrigo Duterte’s relentless anti-narcotics campaign to mount only “legitimate” operations.
Since Duterte’s election victory on May 9, roughly 120 drug suspects, including alleged Cebu kingpin Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, have been killed by police and there will be “more to come,” Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa sought to allay rights groups’ fears that the wave of killings would inspire vigilantes. “Ayaw ko vigilante. Gusto ko legitimate police operation lang ang mangyayari.”
“Pag ganun papasok mga vigilante, ano mangyayari? Anybody can be killed anytime without due process,” he told ABS-CBN News.
Police have said that the drug suspects who were killed were shot by police because they resisted arrest and fought back.
“Magiging normal ‘yan pag normal din na lumalaban ang mga suspect. Ang importante diyan, buhay ang ating pulis pag sila nagcoconduct ng operations,” he said.
But Dela Rosa also cautioned his men against abusing their authority.
“Ayusin nila trabaho nila. Dapat malinis trabaho nila na hindi sila gagawa ng kalokohan,” he said.
“Kahit ano gawin mo sarswela diyan makalusot ka sa mata ng tao, sa mata ng Diyos hindi ka makakalusot. Isipin mo accountability mo, hindi lang sa lupa kundi after death may accountability ka,” he said.
Duterte stepped up his anti-narcotics campaign this week by naming five police generals as alleged coddlers of drug lords.
The officials, three of whom met with Dela Rosa on Wednesday, denied the allegation. They are being investigated by the National Police Commission (Napolcom), the police disciplinary board, and face dismissal from the service.