MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday accused a barangay volunteer group of conducting extra-judicial killings in a depressed area in Tondo, Manila, using the government's war on drugs as a cover.
Police arrested 3 members of the Confederate Sentinel Group (CSG Tondo 2), a civilian voluntary organization, in connection with the killing of 16-year-old Charlie Saladaga, who was accused of theft.
The suspects were identified as Manuel Murillo, 33; Marco Morallos, 33; and, Alfredo Alejan, 42.
Saladaga's mother said the 3 suspects took her son from their home last January 1, and then threatened her son’s companion not to testify.
“Nakita po ng anak kong babae sila ang kumuha eh… Umalis na po kami sa amin, ma’am, kasi natakot po kami. Tinutukan po kami ng baril,” she said in a press conference.
She added they cannot even get their son’s body from the funeral parlor due to lack of funds.
CSG is said to be part of Tondo’s barangay peacekeeping action teams, which are in charge of assisting the police in maintaining peace and order.
However, the PNP said the CSG has since become vigilantes, carrying arms and targeting suspects from rival groups to instill fear and panic among residents in Tondo.
PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said the group used the government’s war on drugs as a cover for their criminal activities.
“Sumakay sila sa ating war on drugs hoping na pag meron silang titirahin, ang mapuputukan pulis, agad sasabihin kagagawan ng pulis yun, pero very clear yun inamin naman nila, kagagawan nila,” Dela Rosa said in a press briefing.
The armed group which has over 212 members according to Dela Rosa, is operating under the command of its leader, a certain Ricardo Villamonte.
They are also believed to be behind 3 deaths in Tondo, that of Rene Disierto, Oliver Tableo, and Danilo Peñalosa.
Dela Rosa called on the public to report to the police volunteer groups bearing firearms since these are not authorized by the police.
"For the record, they are not authorized to bear firearms. Huhulihin natin yan sila,” he said.
--with reports from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News