MANILA - The chief of the Philippine National Police, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, said Wednesday he was willing to face charges over the government's war on drugs.
Dela Rosa, who will retire on Thursday, has been at the forefront of the anti-narcotics campaign, which has been criticized for alleged human rights abuses.
"Yes! Haharapin ko yan," Dela Rosa told ABS-CBN News.
(Yes, I will face them.)
"Mag-file kayo ng kaso kung talagang totoo ang sinasabi nyo. Puro kayo dakdak," said Dela Rosa, who will be reassigned as chief of the Bureau of Corrections.
(File a case if what you're saying is true. You're all talk.)
Since he was appointed PNP chief in July 2016 until March 20, 2018, a total of 123,648 drug personalities have been arrested in over 90,000 police operations conducted nationwide.
A total of 4,075 drug suspects were killed in these operations. Police have repeatedly said most of the fatalities were killed for fighting back or violently resisting arrest.
Human Rights Watch said many of the cases were summary executions, wherein policemen or their agents planted weapons and drugs on bodies, and claimed the victims had "fought back."
The rights monitor said Dela Rosa would leave behind a police force "with a sordid human rights record unmatched since the Marcos dictatorship."
"Ang galing naman nilang magsabi ng ganon. Ganon ba sila kasigurado sa kanilang pinagsasabi? Kung sigurado sila, bahala sila. They can say whatever they want, basta we can prove ourselves," Dela Rosa said.
(They have the nerve to say that. Are they so sure of what they're saying? If they are, fine. They can say whatever they want. We can prove ourselves.)
Human Rights Watch should also take note of the policemen who died in legitimate drug operations, he said.
The PNP's "Real Numbers" listed 87 law enforcers who died in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to February 8, 2018. Another 227 were wounded.