'Bato' admits most drug pushers killed are poor

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2017 12:44 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2017 04:40 PM

MANILA - The country's top cop said he completely agrees with a survey showing majority of the Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed in the government's war on drugs.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said this is because most of those involved in drug pushing belong to the poor.

"Totoo naman talaga na panay mahihirap dahil karamihan na involved sa drug pushing ay mahihirap. Three out of 5 most likely, kasi sa mga nagda-drug pushing, 3 diyan mahirap, 2 ang mayaman," he said.

The SWS survey showed 3 of 5 Filipinos agree with the statement: "Hindi pinapatay ang mga mayayaman na drug pusher; ang mga pinapatay ay ang mahihirap lamang."

It was conducted from June 23-26 using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults aged 18 years old and above nationwide, 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

While a lot of poor people have been killed in the drug war, Dela Rosa said the PNP is also targeting those in the upper classes, and even influential politicians, in the drug war.

"Mahirap ba si Parojinog? Si Mayor Espinosa? Hindi naman. Kaya nga criticize lang, di naman ina-analyze ang data. Ibig sabihin tinitira natin sa baba ang street pushing. Mas maraming mahihirap talaga ang matatamaan. Di natin pwedeng pabayaan yan," he said.

Dela Rosa was referring to former mayors Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz and Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, both tagged in the illegal drug trade and were killed in separate police operations.

Asked when the drug war killings will end, Dela Rosa said only if drug suspects would stop fighting arresting officers.

"Kung wala nang manlalaban, wala nang mamamatay. Hangga't merong lalaban, may chance talaga na may mamamatay. Di natin kontrolado ang sitwasyon na yan," he said.