MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said the recent spate of teen killings could be meant to sabotage the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Addressing Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Duterte said: “Silipin mong mabuti kasi sinasabotahe kayo. Sinasadya ‘yan. Ang pulis, mag baril ‘yan, if at all…pero hindi nakabalot ng…that is not the job of the police.”
Duterte, who spoke at the 17th founding anniversary of Digos City, was referring to 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, who was found dead in Nueva Ecija this week, his face wrapped in tape.
The boy sustained multiple stab wounds and was found nearly three weeks since he went missing.
The President also claimed that 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, De Guzman's companion who was killed in an alleged shootout with Caloocan policemen on Aug. 18, was his relative.
Arnaiz and De Guzman disappeared on Aug. 17 after they left their Cainta, Rizal neighborhood at midnight to get some snacks.
“Parente ko to (He is my relative),” he said.
He did not give details.
Duterte stressed that policemen must operate within the bounds of the law.
“Only when your life is in danger, lumaban and because you have to place him under the custody, you have to overcome resistance,” he added.
The recent spate of teen killings have sparked public outrage and renewed calls to end the bloody drug war.
Just a day before Arnaiz and De Guzman disappeared, police shot dead 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos after he allegedly fired at pursuing officers during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City.
Forensic analysis found a suspicious pattern in the killings of Delos Santos and Arnaiz, including indications that they were shot when already on the ground.
Circumstances surrounding De Guzman's death remain unclear.
Sen. Grace Poe has called for a Senate inquiry on the teen's deaths. Malacañang earlier vowed justice.