57 deaths in 2 days
At least 25 people were killed in various anti-crime raids in Manila Thursday, less than 24 hours after anti-drug operations led to the deaths of 32 people in nearby Bulacan province, a police official said.
Superintendent Erwin Margarejo, Manila Police District spokesman, said Manila police officers conducted at least 18 operations in the nation's capital that led to the deaths of 26 suspects. The operations were conducted from 7 a.m. Wednesday, August 16, to 7 a.m. Thursday, August 17, he said.
"Sa ngayon po, mayroon pang iniimbistigahan ang Manila Police District Homicide Section at hindi po ako mag-speculate, maaari pong tumaas pa yung aming resulta sa isinasagawang anti-drug campaign ng Manila Police District," Margarejo said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel, MPD District Director, however, clarified that the 26th fatality is a murder victim and his death not connected to any police operation.
A DZMM report said of the 25 fatalities, 14 were drug suspects while 11 were robbery suspects. Seventy suspects were also arrested in the Manila police operations.
The raids in Bulacan and Manila bring the total of fatalities to 57 in anti-crime operations since Tuesday.
On Wednesday, President Duterte praised the anti-drug raids in Bulacan that left 32 dead. He said his government is willing to carry out more killings in legitimate police operations if this will reduce "what ails the country."
“Makapatay lang tayo ng mga another 32 everyday then maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” he said.
The raids in Manila were conducted in Tondo, Ermita, Malate, Sta. Cruz, Pandacan, Sampaloc, Sta Ana and Sta. Mesa.
Margarejo said said that even without Duterte's statement yesterday, the MPD and other police districts in Metro Manila will continue One Time Big Time operations against illegal drugs.
"Nagkataon lang po na ngayong araw na ito ay umabot sa 26 ang na-neutralize ng operatiba ng Manila Police District," he said.
He said that before the conduct of a bigtime operation, authorities first validate and verify complaints coming in from the 911 hotline, via text or social media.
"Nagkataon lang po siguro na yung mga suspect natin ay kumbaga, lumaban sa ating kapulisan," he said. He said that when a police officer senses imminent danger, his last resort is to defend himself.
"Mayroon tayong tinatawag na rules of engagement. The use of force is a last resort so yun po ang ginamit ng ating kapulisan," he said.
While strengthening anti-drug operations, Margarejo said they also saw a significant increase in the surrender of drug personalities.
"Significantly, increasing ang mga sumu-surrender sa ating station. Kaya aside from the arrested persons, may mga sumu-surrender naman po at nagbabalik-loob sa ating gubyerno para tuluyan nang masugpo ang illegal drugs," he said.
He also clarified that the MPD does not discriminate between big and small fish.
"Ang importante po validated yung information na natanggap na you are a drug personality, na may concerned citizens na vinalidate na Manila Police District na ikaw ay nasasangkot sa iligal na droga," he said.
Margarejo bared only two options to those who decide to continue with their illegal drug activity.
"It's either kayo po ay maaaresto ng Manila Police District o kayo po ay ma-neutralize kung kayo po ay lumaban sa mga operatiba during the conduct of police operation," he said. With a report by Dennis Datu, radio DZMM