Says violators will be punished
MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will never condone extra-judicial kilings, police chief Ronald ''Bato'' dela Rosa said on Monday, amid criticisms that President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-illegal drugs campaign has gone out of control.
''The PNP stand against extrajudicial killings is uncompromising. If any policeman is found violating law on self-defense, he will be investigated, prosecuted and punished,'' Dela Rosa told a joint hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights and the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, on Monday.
Duterte and the PNP have been drawing criticisms from human rights advocates in the Philippines and in the United Nations for what they believe is a blatant disregard for due process in the conduct of the new administration's anti-illegal drugs operations.
There is also growing concern over the killings of drug suspects by non-state actors, also called vigilante killings.
Dela Rosa also stressed that the PNP is also against vigilante killings, and claimed that these are being committed by drug syndicates.
''On speculations of vigilante killings, the PNP will never condone vigilante killings. I have previously mentioned that these killings are perpetrated by various syndicates involved in drugs."
Dela Rosa, citing PNP data, said there have been 718 drug suspects killed in legitimate police operations.
But on top of the suspects being killed in police operations, more than 300 have been killed by unknown assailants.
Monitoring being done by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group show that there have been 1,127 drug-related deaths from May 10 to August 19.
Of this number, 682 were killed in police operations and 351 were killed by unidentified assailants. Ninety-four bodies were found away from the crime scene.
President Duterte has said he does not condone vigilante killings and ordered a probe into such cases.
He, however, has repeatedly said he will back policemen performing their duties, amid accusations that some policemen are abusing their authority.
Commission on Human Rights chairperson Chito Gascon said the war on drugs must not be waged at the expense of human rights and due process.
''Siguraduhin lang po na ang mga nandyan na mga rekisito at alituntunin sa batas at sa police operational procedures ay masundan, hindi tayo magkaka-problema sa usapin ng karapatang pantao,'' he said.
(If the police make sure that the requisites and guidelines in the conduct of operations are followed, then we won't have a problem with regard to human rights.)