MANILA — "Bad eggs" in the Philippine National Police make up "the exception rather than the rule", Malacañang said on Monday, after some law enforcers killed an allegedly unarmed teenager during a drug war operation last week in Laguna.
Police claim Johndy Maglinte, 16, exchanged gunfire with arresting officers in Biñan City. But his family says policemen handcuffed Maglinte and dragged him to a muddy area, where he allegedly begged not to be killed before he was shot while lying face down. His companion Antonio Dalit was also killed.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque said he was not aware of the details of the operation. But he said he would call PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar and ask for an investigation into the pair's deaths.
The PNP, as well as the Commission on Human Rights, have said they will look into the incident.
Eleazar said whenever there are allegations of irregularities in police operations, investigations are conducted to correct any lapses that may be found.
"In instances where there are allegations of irregularity in police operations, it is also important for us to get to the truth to enable us to improve and be better public servants. It also enables us to rid the PNP ranks of rogues who are unfit to wear the uniform," he said in a statement.
"There's 240,000 PNP personnel. Siguro kung mayroong mga bugok (perhaps if there are rotten eggs), they constitute the exception rather than the rule," Roque said in a press briefing.
"We will investigate, prosecute, and punish those who will violate the law," he added.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte "has been repeating" to the police that they would be "on your own" if they violate the law.
Last week, International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the tribunal to allow a full investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity and killings under the drug war that Duterte unleashed when he took office in 2016.
Duterte will not cooperate with any ICC inquiry as long as he is President, Roque had said.
Philippine security forces say they have killed 6,117 suspected drug dealers because they fought back violently, but rights groups say authorities have summarily executed drug suspects.
Earlier this month, a policeman shot dead his unarmed female neighbor over a personal quarrel, which contributed to criticism of alleged police brutality and impunity under the Duterte government.
Malacañang also defended the PNP then, saying officers "are by and large professional."
"Definitely, that is not the rule. That is the exception to the rule. Wala po tayong magagawa, sa kahit anong organisasyon may paisa-isang bugok," Roque said.
(We cannot do anything, in any organization there are rotten ones members.)
According to the PNP, 18,664 personnel were penalized for various offenses since 2016, of whom, 5,151 were dismissed from the service.
– With a report from Reuters