MANILA - Crime syndicates, and not vigilante groups, are responsible for the serial summary executions of drug peddlers and users, Philippine National Police (PNP) insisted Tuesday.
Citing intelligence reports, PNP chief Director Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said drug rings likely have direct links to the slain suspects.
"Alleged vigilante killings turned out to be syndicated killings ng mga grupo sa droga (by drug groups)," he said at a command conference at Camp Crame.
Dela Rosa, however, declined to detail their findings.
"Magugulat na lang kayo kapag may inilabas kami ng mga data, mga facts kung sino-sino ang mga nagpapatayan," he said.
(You'll just be surprised when we release the data, facts on who are involved in the murders.)
Dela Rosa's statement comes amid a growing calls to probe the killings perpetrated by alleged vigilante groups.
PNP dared: Stop vigilante slays
Hundreds of suspected drug dealers have been killed since President Duterte took office a month ago, with a vow to suppress crime and the narcotics trade.
At least 1,036 drug suspects were killed between May 10 and August 12, according to an independent tally by ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
Of this number, 625 died in police operations while 318 were killed by unidentified assailants and 93 were found away from the crime scene.
MAP, CHARTS: The Death Toll of the War on Drugs
The Senate committee on justice will conduct a hearing on the spate of killings on August 22 and 23.
With a report from Henry Atuelan, DZMM