PNP to follow chain of command on looming ICC probe, says chief

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 20 2021 09:49 AM | Updated as of Jun 20 2021 10:21 AM

PNP to follow chain of command on looming ICC probe, says chief 1
Relatives of Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) hold a protest in front of the Philippines Army and Police headquarters in Quezon City on July 17, 2019. They are joined by human rights groups as they call for the government to Stop the implementation of its violent drug war operations, citing the many abuses and innocent individuals ending up as victims of these brutal police operations. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine National Police said Sunday it would follow the "chain of command" after the International Criminal Court prosecutor has requested for judicial authorization to proceed with a probe on alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte during his term of office until 2022 will never cooperate with the ICC on any investigation into killings under his drug war, Malacañang earlier said. 

"Opo, ang PNP is an organization na meron kaming chain of command," PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo when asked if the police would cooperate should the ICC probe is given authorization.

(Yes, the PNP is an organization with a chain of command.)

"'Yan ay usapin na international, at ang Department of Foreign Affairs ay nakatutok po dyan. Sa amin po sa kapulisan, ako po, mag-concentrate lang dito sa trabaho natin... At kung merong violation, kami po ay may sariling mechanism para i-sanction siya."

(This is an international issue, and the Department of Foreign Affairs is on it. The police will concentrate on our jobs... If there's a violation, we have our own mechanism to penalize erring policemen.)

Eleazar said the government does not sanction state-sponsored killings.

"Wala kaming policy na pumatay o saktan ang sinuman kung hindi ito base sa self-defense. 'Yun ang ating policy at batas na 'pag nag-violate, pananagutan natin. Hindi natin tino-tolerate yan," he said.

(We have no policy to kill or hurt others if not based on self-defense. That's our policy and law that if we violate, we would have to be accountable. We don't tolerate this.)

The PNP had placed the drug war's death toll at over 7,000, but human rights groups believe there could be thousands more.

Authorities said suspects slain in drug operations had violently resisted arrest, prompting police to defend themselves. But critics believe the state is behind cases of summary killings.

Duterte had repeatedly defended the killing of drug pushers, saying they destroy the country's youth and future.

'Operational lapses'

The PNP chief also urged witnesses to come forward to give its investigating body, the Internal Affairs Service, evidence against erring policemen as he admitted "operational lapses" in the agency.

Eleazar cited the case of a 16-year-old boy who was killed in an anti-drug operation in Laguna last week.

"It boils down pa rin dun sa may operational lapses pa rin tayo. Di naman kami pinanghihinaan ng loob. Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon lalo dapat ipakita ng PNP yung resolve namin na maimbestigahan ito," he said.

(It boils down to the fact that we still have operational lapses. We're not discouraged. In these times, the PNP should all the more show our resolve to investigate this.)

"Itong nagresultang encounter, kahit anong edad naman 'yan, 'pag meron talagang kasalanan, pwedeng hulihin siya. At 'pag ikaw ay nalagay sa bingit ng alanganin at iyong kaligtasan ay nakasalalay, 'di naman kailangang alamin kung bata o matanda ang magbibigay sa'yo ng panganib o bingit ng kamatayan."

(This encounter, whatever age, if they violated the law, they could be arrested. If you're on the brink of death, you don't need to know if it's a child or an adult who's threatening your life.)

Reports that the boy was "handcuffed and facing down into the mud" remain "hearsay" until witnesses come forward, Eleazar said.

"Nakakalungkot talaga at nakakagalit. Pero hindi naman lingid sa atin na nagagamit ng masasamang loob ang ilan sa ating mga kabataan sa krimen," he said.

(It's sad and maddening, but there are criminals who use children in their operations.)

"Yung sinasabi na nakadapa daw, may posas, wala naman tayong ebidensiyang ganun. 'Yun ay narinig lamang sa reporter. Ang reporter naman, 'di umano,' puro ganun naman tayo, puro hearsay lahat yun."

(They say that the child was lying face down and handcuffed, we have no evidence of that, it was just heard from a reporter. And reporters said 'allegedly,' that's all hearsay.)

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