'Bato' slams US probe on drug war: 'Is PH their 51st state?'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2017 03:43 PM

MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday asserted Philippine sovereignty as it lambasted a US congressional body hearing into President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. 

"Are they considering us to be the 51st state ng US? Wala ba tayong sovereignty? I don't know anong rason nila. Are we a province of the US?" PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa told reporters at Camp Crame. 

"They can investigate sa kanila, pero wala kaming pakialam sa kanila. Hindi man kami sakop ng Amerika," Dela Rosa added. 

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bi-partisan caucus in the US House of Representatives, has invited resource persons to analyze the implementation and human rights consequences of the anti-narcotics crackdown led by the PNP. 

Police look at a suspected drug pusher who was killed in a anti-drug buy-bust operation in Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Police data show that nearly 3,000 drug suspects have died in presumed legitimate police operations. 

Out of 9,432 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 or the first 9 months of the Duterte administration, 1,847 have been found to be drug-related, with 5,691 cases under investigation.

Duterte's anti-narcotics drive has also resulted to a 26.45 percent drop in the estimated total drug market and 28.57 percent reduction in index crime, according to police data. 

The US, a long-standing Philippine ally, has been keeping a sharp eye on Duterte's drug war, with some American senators proposing to restrict US arms exports to the Philippines because of the reported abuses.  

Dela Rosa downplayed the possible suspension of arms from Washington, saying "marami naman tayong ibang puwedeng pagkuhanan ng armas other than the US." 

Duterte has, meanwhile, lashed out at the US over its criticism of the drug war, vowing to pursue an independent foreign policy that shifts to closer partnerships with non-traditional allies such as China and Russia. -- With Henry Atuelan, ABS-CBN News