PNP chief says over 2,000 drug personalities killed in anti-drug operations; 76 cops dead
MANILA - Out of the thousands of "nanlaban cases" or the incidents of suspects being killed during official police operations, only one has reached the court so far, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
This is why the agency has asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to give them all the case folders of the recorded killings so they can review and find out what went wrong and where the process has slowed down.
"'Yung hinihingi nilang clearance, umaasa kaming maibigay na, nang kami sa CHR magpag-aralan na nang buo ang bawat kaso at malaman kung bakit isa pa lamang na 'nanlaban case' ang umaabot sa korte," CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon said Tuesday.
Gascon said the only case that has reached the court was the killing of Renato Bertes, and his son, JP, who were arrested for drug possession on July 6, 2016, and were shot dead inside a police station after allegedly grappling for the gun of a police officer.
PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said he is still awaiting clearance from President Rodrigo Duterte on the release of the documents that were also requested by the Senate committee probing the killing of Kian Loyd Delos Santos.
"There was an instruction from the President that we have to ask clearance from him before we give those papers," the PNP chief said, adding that only 146 spot reports have clearance and are ready for submission.
Dela Rosa said they have recorded a total of 2,216 persons killed during police operations since President Duterte, who vowed a bloody war on drugs, assumed office. Police say these people were killed because they allegedly fought back in anti-drug operations.
A report from the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), however, says 3,811 drug personalities were killed and 107,156 arrested in 70,156 anti-drug operations from July 2016 to August 29, 2017.
Dela Rosa urged senators to take note of the thousands more who have been arrested and not killed in police anti-drug operations.
He also said that police officers have also been killed in these operations, an indication that drug personalities indeed fight back.
A total of 76 drug law enforcers were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to August 29, 2017, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Aside from Delos Santos, another case of a killing during a police operation is that of 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, who was accused of robbing a taxi driver and violently resisting arrest.
Before Delos Santos and Arnaiz, 32 suspects who allegedly fought cops were also killed in a span of 24 hours in a province-wide anti-drug operation in Bulacan.
At least 25 drugs suspects were also killed in 24 hours in a "one time, big time," police operation in Manila on August 17. Police authorities said all these suspects figured in a gunfight.
Mayors Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte and Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City, too, were also killed because they allegedly fought the police who were serving warrants against them.
The CHR chairman said these killings could have been prevented if the police adhered to their operational procedure that says operatives should not immediately employ lethal force in the conduct of their duty.
"Ang tanong namin sa isang taon ng war on drugs e bakit napakarami na po ang namatay e nandiyan naman ang police operation procedure? Sa palagay namin, maraming kaso diyan na baka hindi nasusundan ang procedure," said Gascon.
He said the CHR is hoping the PNP would cooperate, stressing that "transparency and openness" is key to finding the truth.--with a report from Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News