'Killings target drug suspects, rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics'
The Philippine National Police rejected Wednesday claims made by 2 senior police officers that cops received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes, and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes.
PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa had already debunked reports that the national police force was paying cops to kill drug suspects all over the country.
"We don't have that much funds, much more to spend that amount on such things. Unang-una, ilegal. Bawal. Hindi ho namin ginagawa," he said in a press briefing.
"Hirap tayo sa pondo at hindi nga ho talaga nakalaan. Wala ho tayong nakalaan."
A Reuters report on Tuesday said almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since President Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defense during legitimate anti-drug operations.
Human rights monitors believe many of the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes - a charge the police deny.
The Reuters report cited 2 senior police officers - one a retired police intelligence officer and the other an active-duty commander - who claimed the killings are in fact orchestrated by the police, including most of those carried out by vigilantes.
The retired intelligence officer said he was angry about the impact of the killings on police discipline and wanted "to put Duterte on the defensive."
The retired officer has authored an unpublished 26-page report on the conduct of the drug war in an effort to organize opposition to Duterte's campaign. The report, titled "The State-Sponsored Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines," provides granular detail on the campaign's alleged methods, masterminds and perpetrators. The document has been shared with leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and with the government-funded Commission on Human Rights.
The report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also - for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head - rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other "troublemakers."
It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte's hometown of Davao, were drafted to "augment and assist" the police's current nationwide anti-drug operation.
The report doesn't provide documentary evidence for its accusations, which the intelligence officer said were based on accounts from 17 serving or former policemen, including the commander Reuters interviewed. The police commander said he agreed to talk because he was upset that authorities are targeting only petty drug suspects. "Why aren't they killing the suppliers?" he asked. "Only the poor are dying."
Carlos said he has asked Reuters for a copy of the 26-page report, noting that the figures are too high. Medyo mataas yung mga figures," he said.
The PNP chief earlier said the police organization does not have the money to pay cops the supposed P8,000 to P15,000 they allegedly get for every drug suspect they kill.
"I don't know who is paying. Me, I don't have money to pay for that if that were true. Those cops are not paid...For me, the PNP has no funding to pay for that. You'll pay the cop for killing? Why would you pay him?" Dela Rosa told reporters.
He also dared those who are behind the claim to come out in the open and file charges before the appropriate bodies.
"For all you know, paninira na naman yan sa administrasyong Duterte...File a complaint. Ilabas nila yang tao na yan at dalhin sa Ombudsman para magkaliwanagan na tayo," he said. With a report by Reuters