PNP-IAS: 81 cops dismissed, 20 demoted amid 'war on drugs'

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2017 09:50 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2017 01:50 AM

A gun is seen on the hand of one of 2 alleged drug pushers who were killed after allegedly fighting it out with police in Tondo, Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

PNP says it is still investigating killings in drug war

The Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service on Monday dispelled accusations that it is not investigating alleged extra-judicial killings (EJKs), although the PNP said the deaths should be called "homicide cases under investigation".

PNP-IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo said there were 2,228 deaths in 2016 during anti-illegal drugs operations while 1,290 died in 2017. The total has reached 3,518.

“Karamihan ay legitimate operation, pero may nakikita pa rin tayo na scalawags sa hanay ng kapulisan na gumagawa din ng kanilang mga kalokohan. In the guise na yan ay anti illegal drugs operation," Triambulo said.

"Marami po tayong matatanggal diyan, 'yung mga 'tokhang for ransom.'”

IAS records show that in 2016, 1,620 operations were conducted under "Oplan Double Barrel" or "tokhang" while 927 operations were conducted this year, with the total reaching 2,547 operations.

"Ang IAS po ay simula pa kase yan ang mandato nila na kami ay mag-conduct ng motoproprio o automatic investigation sa mga insidente na yan. From July 16 2016 to November 2016,” Triambulo said 

From July 2016 to November 2017, 2,658 police personnel, including those involved in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr., were investigated in anti-illegal drugs operations. 

“Pag legitimate operation, justified ang killing in the performance of duty pero nakikitaan pa rin namin iyung mga hindi masyadong strictly complied itong mga police operational procedure. Because itong police operational procedure, na ginagawa ng PNP, ito po ay to ensure na maprotektahan at igalang ang karapatang pantao kahit ng mga suspect ng illegal na droga. Kaya kami ay nagtayo ng technical working group para suriin at ireview baka mapaigting natin o mapaganda ang tinatawag nating police operational procedure at mabawasan ang mga nasasaktan, namamatay o na-violate ang human rights nila sa pag-conduct ng anti illegal drugs operation,” Triambulo said. 

According to Triambulo, 1,489 cases were dropped and closed because they were proven legitimate operations. 

Eighteen cases are under pre-charge investigation while 144 cases are undergoing summary hearing.

So far, 81 PNP personnel have been dismissed from the service for violating police operational procedures in the war on drugs.

From the 81, 5 were officers and 76 were non-commissioned officers. Twenty were demoted and 31 suspended.

Triambulo said they are still going after police "scalawags." 

“Yung tinatawag nyong police scalawag, na hindi nadisiplina o hindi nakasama sa mga na-reassigned at itong mga nailagay sa ating holding unit nahalo po ito sa pagconduct ng operation. Kaya tayo ay gumawa ng tinatawag na internal cleansing para mahuli po sila. Marami po tayong nahuhuli tulad ng extortion o nagoperate tapos ay pabayarin,” Triambulo said. 

PNP-IAS said only 10 cases on drug operations which resulted in death are pending investigation. 

Triambulo said he is confident the operation against illegal drugs will be less bloody should President Duterte reinstate the PNP in the drug war.

“Kaya nilinis natin dahil kung ibabalik man ni Presidente sa PNP ang anti war on drugs palagay ko maiiwasan na ito,” Triambulo said. 

“Nakita niyo maam, lahat ng kaso ay inimbestigahan, lahat ng insidente na may namatay ay inimbestigahan natin at lahat ay natatanggal,” he added. 

Triambulo said they have carefully investigated cases based on their mandate.

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Dela Rosa: PNP internal cleansing program is working

The PNP-IAS has also recommended to PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa the dismissal of more than 60 cops from police service, including those involved in the killing of Carl Angelo Arnaiz. 

Dela Rosa said he will approve PNP-IAS recommendations. 

“Whatever is the recommended resolution coming from IAS I will wholeheartedly approve and sign it,” Dela Rosa said. 

Dela Rosa said the number of police complaints through the PNP Counter Intelligence Task Force (CITF) has diminished. 

"If you have observed, bumaba na ang [bilang ng] mga pulis natin na involved sa kriminalidad, based sa reports ng CITF. Pababa at pababa na ang calls at texts na nare-receive nila... mga pulis scalawag committing criminal acts. We can say that our internal cleansing program is working,” Dela Rosa. 

He also said he is not afraid of retaliation when he retires. 

"I am telling you, bring it on. Kahit retired na ako, bakit hindi ba ako pwedeng makipagbarilan sa inyo? Sabihan nyo ang mga scalawag na pulis: You are free to come and hunt me down, kahit retired na ako. Hindi ko kayo aatrasan, mga scalawag kayo,” he said. 

“Baka magvigilante pa ako laban sa mga g***** pulis. Alam kong maraming galit sa akin, lalo na mga ninja cops. Magpapatayan tayo kahit saan pa tayo magpapang-abot, di ko kayo aatrasan. Remember, iisa lang ang buhay natin. It's either buhay nyo o buhay ko. Hindi ko kayo aatrasan. Hindi ako takot mamatay,” Dela Rosa said. 

"Isasama ko kayo sa retirement ko pag kayo gumawa ng kalokohan. I will be retiring back to Davao and you will be retiring inside the prison jail. If not, you will be retiring 6 feet under the ground,” he added.