MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said the force has no command plan to stop extrajudicial killings as it relies on existing police procedure.
PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said this yesterday under the questioning of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon at the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs' hearing on the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos.
The teen's controversial death in a police operation on Aug. 16 has sparked public outrage as witness statements, a security footage and forensic evidence indicate that the boy was murdered.
"If you talk about plan, we have none. We just rely on police general procedure," Dela Rosa told Drilon.
During the hearing, Drilon again asked for spot reports of all police incidents where drug suspects had ended up dead. He had made the same request last year at a Senate inquiry following the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
Espinosa, a drug suspect, was killed in detention during a police search for alleged firearms in his cell in November. The Senate had ruled his death a murder, but charges against the accused police now pending before the court were downgraded to homicide.
"Several months ago, when we were investigating the case of Espinosa, we asked for a spot report of all the deaths arising from police operations. We never received those spot reports," said Drilon.
"Can we reiterate [that] request that all the spot reports for all these killings should be submitted as part of the records of these proceedings?" he said.
The Senator remembered that Dela Rosa brought the documents to the hearing but later took them back. The police chief explained that he just followed President Rodrigo Duterte's orders at the time.
"Yes, your honor, because there was instruction from the President that we have to ask clearance from him before we give those papers to you," Dela Rosa said.
But Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chair of the investigating committee, asked Dela Rosa why the President stopped him from submitting the documents, which are official records, to the Senate.
To this, the PNP Chief responded: "I will ask him again, your honor."
Dela Rosa said the PNP has recorded 2,216 cases of drug suspects killed in police operations. This is contrary to estimates by human rights organizations, which put the death toll at 9,000 to 10,000, figures that the administration has said are bloated.
During the hearing, Dela Rosa again defended the PNP from allegations of executing drug suspects, tearful as he cited the sacrifice of the police in pursuit of their duties.
In a recent speech, the President reminded police to follow rules of engagement during police operations.