MANILA—The Philippine National Police and the Commission on Human Rights on Saturday said each would launch its own investigation into an anti-illegal drugs operation in Laguna that left a 16-year-old boy dead.
Earlier in the day, 10 police officers involved in the operations were placed under "restrictive custody" while an investigation got underway.
In a statement, the CHR said it was "deeply concerned" with the police's version of the incident saying that Johndy Maglinte and a companion, Antonio Dalit, retaliated with force when police officers were handing out arrest warrants in Barangay Canlalay in Biñan city on Wednesday.
"We shall be conducting our own independent probe on this incident to pursue the truth behind the incident and, more importantly, in pursuit of justice should it be proven that a human rights violation was perpetrated by the police," commissioner Jacqueline De Guia said.
According to the CHR, "Maglinte’s live-in partner, who is also a minor, recounted in several media interviews how Dalit was killed first and, since Johndy witnessed the alleged killing, the police reportedly shot him too — handcuffed and facing down into the mud."
De Guia added: "We strongly urge the government to speed up their investigations on cases of alleged extrajudicial killings, especially those linked to the government’s drug campaign."
Police Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said his office would conduct its own probe on the incident.
The police officers, members of the Laguna Provincial Intelligence Branch, were also fired from their posts, according to Police Maj. Mary Ann Torres of PNP Calabarzon's Public Information Office.
Eleazar said: "Ang inutos lahat ng mga pulis na kasali sa operation ay under restrictive custody na, at isinailalim sa paraffin test . . . Natapos na rin ang autopsy sa mga labi ng mga nasawi."
(We already ordered the police officers involved in the operations to be placed under restrictive custody and undergo paraffin test. The autopsy on the victims' bodies has already concluded.)
The firearms that the police used were also subject to ballistic examination, Eleazar added.
Cristina Maglinte, the minor's mother, described the killing as "brutal" and unnecessary.
"Ang hindi lang namin matanggap ’yung pagpatay sa kaniya na brutal. Kung may mali ang anak ko o wala, dapat hindi nila pinatay, dapat hinuli na lang nila, ikulong para magbagong buhay ’yung anak ko," Maglinte said.
(We cannot accept the manner in which he was killed. He should not have died that way. They could have just put him in jail. At least, he could have had a chance to change his ways.)
Lydia, Dalit's sister, said she doubted that her brother shot a police officer during the operation.
She acknowledged that Dalit had been arrested twice for illegal drugs.
Meanwhile, the Kabataan party-list and Sen. Risa Hontiveros have condemned the killings.
At the height of the government's drug war in 2016, police officers justified killing their victims for allegedly fighting back violently against authorities.
This is the subject of the possible investigation at the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.
Rights groups that have lobbied for the ICC to investigate the killings in the Philippines have argued that the thousands killed during the war on drugs in the country are more than enough to warrant an international probe — more than 6,000 based on official figures but more than 30,000 according to estimates of rights groups. — Reports from Wheng Hidalgo and Dennis Datu, ABS-CBN News