'Bato' vows to probe Caloocan teen's death

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2017 11:07 PM

But says number of deaths in anti-drug raids 'normal'

MANILA - Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on Friday vowed to investigate the death of a 17-year-old boy during a Caloocan City anti-drug operation even as he asserted that the high number of deaths in overnight anti-drug raids was "normal."

"Tingnan natin, dapat may imbestigasyon. Hindi natin 'yan pinapalusot. Isipin mo, bata papatayin mo? Anong klaseng pulis ka? Pulis ka ba kung ganon ka? Kapag pinatay mo 'yung bata na 17-year-old, ganun ka na ba kawalang puso?," said Dela Rosa in an interview. 

"Hindi na lang ako papayag na ganon na lang gagawin ng pulis na walang habas, kung totoo iyang report. I am giving you the assurance, iimbestigahan natin," dela Rosa said.

At the same time, Dela Rosa said there was nothing unusual about the high number of deaths in anti-drug operations. 

"Normal na marami. Nagtatrabaho 'yong pulis ninyo. Hindi natutulog, nagtatrabaho, kaya iyon nag-o-operate," he said.

This week, overnight anti-drug operations in Bulacan left 32 dead, while 25 were killed in Manila, and 17 were killed in Caloocan as police carried out the administration's relentless anti-drug campaign.

Among those slain in the Caloocan operation was Grade 11 student Kian Loyd Delos Santos, who police alleged fired at pursuing officers. 

Surveillance footage which caught the incident, however, suggested that the minor had already surrendered to police before he was shot dead.

Several senators have called for a legislative inquiry into his death. 

MalacaƱang meanwhile called the incident "isolated" and said it would not tolerate police abuse.

Dela Rosa apologized to the families of suspects who died in the war against illegal drugs.

"Sa mga pamilya na umaalma, alam kong masakit talaga yan sa pamilya 'yan na mamatayan, we understand your feelings. We are very sorry for what had happened. I'd rather buhay 'yung pulis ko kesa patay 'yung pulis ko, 'yun lang po sa akin," he said.

"Kung pulis ko rin mamamatayan, ako rin ang maaagrabyado, at saka 'yung pamilya ng pulis na namatay, magsasama ang loob namin. Normal po 'yan, naiintindihan ko po kayo kung gaano po kayo kagalit sa amin," he added.

The top cop advised his men not to listen to critics and to remain focused on their job.

"Ano naman kanilang sabihin impunity, 'yung mga drug lord na naghahari-harian, hindi sila sumisigaw ng impunity. Ngayon, pulis nag-tatrabaho, sabihin nila impunity. Wala tayong pupuntahan nito," Dela Rosa said. 

"Magtrabaho ka inutil, hindi ka magtrabaho inutil, magtrabaho ka impunity. Saan kayo pupunta? Kaya 'wag kayong makinig sa kanila," he added.

INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATION

The PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has begun an investigation into the "One-time Big Time" police operations this week.

Lawyer Michael Darwin Bayotas, acting chief of the PNP-IAS Intelligence and Investigation Division, called on witnesses to come forward and give their testimonies.

"We encourage the family to cooperate with the investigation to be the potential witness for us to investigate thoroughly the case, at the same time mag-case build up for the proper prosecution and best position for summary hearing," he said.