NCRPO chief denies drug war 'quota' amid rise in fatalities

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2017 11:37 AM

MANILA - The chief of the National Capital Region Police Office denied Thursday allegations that police officers are given a "quota" in the conduct of the war on drugs.

The allegations came after the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, and the sudden spike of fatalities in anti-narcotics operations in Bulacan and Manila.

At least 80 people were killed in just 3 days of anti-drug operations last week.

A rusty revolver is seen near the body of a man, who police said was killed by police operatives, and two sachets of "Shabu" or methampethamine chloride were found on his pockets in Manila, Philippines August 17, 2017. Erik De Castro, Reuters

"The quota was never there. In fairness to our president he never gave us any quota. In fairness to our chief of PNP, he never gave us any quota," National Capital Region Police Office Director Oscar Albayalde told ANC.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said his government is willing to carry out more killings in legitimate police operations if this will reduce "what ails the country."

"Makapatay lang tayo ng mga another 32 everyday then maybe we can reduce what ails this country," he said.

"It’s really a problem. It takes a toll on the lives of the people, whether you are victim or criminal. Walang katapusan ito," he added.

On Wednesday, the President said the war on drugs would not cease, but warned officers their duty was to arrest suspects and kill only if their lives were in danger.

"You are not allowed to kill a person that is kneeling down begging for his life. That is murder," Duterte said in a speech.

In the interview, the NCRPO chief said they were only asked to focus on the campaign against illegal drugs. He stressed that President Duterte has always said he will never tolerate abusive cops.

Asked about the President previously telling cops to give drug suspects a gun and ask them to fight, Albayalde said: "I never heard that. It's probably a joke."

He said the NCRPO has been "constantly reminding" police officers to always respect human rights in the conduct of anti-drug operations.

The national police force has filed cases against 1,400 cops accused of various violations including abuse, grave misconduct and even murder.

Albayalde also backed the use of body cameras in police operations but said the police do not have enough budget right now.