MANILA - The Philippine National Police wants evidence to back up an Al Jazeera report that bodies of drug war victims were being dumped in Manila Bay, the PNP's spokesperson said Friday.
Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera, which published the report last week, "should be more responsible, not just coming out with this article and story and then there’s nothing."
"I will ask Al Jazeera: who’s the fisherman? Who’s your source? How many bodies have you fished out of Manila Bay? They are putting up this article or this report, and we hope that they have validated the source," Carlos told ANC's Headstart.
Carlos said if the news agency found that a policeman was involved in this scheme, "give us the name, we will go after them."
"Unfortunately, it is now being presented as [if] it is a widespread [scheme] being done there. That’s why I am asking, how many bodies have been fished out of Manila Bay? Who’s your source? Who’s the policeman? That’s how we work. You say you have done research and investigation, where’s that?" he added.
The international news agency published a report quoting a fisherman as saying that he was ordered by police officers to dump bodies of suspected drug personalities in Manila Bay.
A Palace official on Monday branded as "hearsay" the said article, saying it should have presented more evidence to back up the allegation.
"As far as we are concerned, those are mere allegations. If there [is] no evidence to back that up, then that remains as hearsay," Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
Detained Senator Leila de Lima, one of the most vocal critics of the administration and its war on drugs, has called for a Senate investigation into the alleged practice, which she dubbed "bangkay sa bangka."
The government has defended President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-narcotics drive, saying reported figures--from 7,000 to 9,000--were overblown.
Latest PNP data show that a total of 3,200 drug personalities were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017, or 9 killed daily in presumed legitimate anti-drug operations in the first year of the Duterte administration.
The PNP has also determined that out of the 12,833 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to June 16, 2017, 2,098 deaths were drug-related and 2,535 non-drug related. A total of 8,200 homicide cases were under investigation "with motives to be determined," the PNP said.