MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte's chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo gave assurances that the government will go after policemen abusing their authority amid the ongoing war against illegal drugs.
"Definitely if there's probable cause this government will be filing cases of murder against abusive police authorities," Panelo told reporters.
"We are encouraging everybody to tell us who is abusive. If they have any evidence against any person to kindly go to the nearest police station and inform us so that we will make the appropriate filing of charges against those offenders."
Panelo gave this assurance even as he maintained that the drug-related killings not carried out by the police force are not sanctioned by the state.
''Nakakalimutan ng lahat na ang mga sindikato, nagkaka-onsehan. Pangalawa, because of the surrenders, natatakot ang mga hindi sumusurrender na baka ituturo sila. Iyung mga sumurrender, naka ready rin sila kaya nagkakapatayan,'' Panelo said.
He said families of drug pushers know that the killings were being perpetrated by those also involved in the illegal activities.
"The fact na wala ngang nagrereklamong pamilya…ibig sabihin sila-sila iyon. Alam nila. Kahit pamilya nila alam nila na involved ang mga kamag anak nila,'' he said.
To solve the problem of having bad eggs in the police force, Panelo urged the public to file cases against bad cops.
''Dapat hindi na sila natatakot kasi nakita nila ang police hindi lang homicide ang ikinaso, murder ito. Doon lang makikita mo na bibigyan sila ng proteksyon ng pamahalaan [They should be not afraid. If cops are abusive, murder charges will be filed, not homicide. From there you will see that the government is already giving citizens protection],'' he said.
Panelo, however, did not see the need for another probe into the alleged police abuses.
"The Palace has ordered the PNP to investigate these extra-judicial killings. The human rights commission is conducting its own investigation. The senate is doing its own investigation,'' he said.
Panelo also dismissed any possible complaint of genocide against the President, following comments from human rights chair Chito Gascon that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could step in.
"Kalokohan lang 'yun. Alam mo yung genocide na tinatawag that involves massacre of chidlren massacre. Hindi naman ganun ang nakikita dun, patayan between members of the syndicate yun,'' he said.