MANILA— Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Wednesday said 15 police officers linked to a fake buy-bust operation in Bulacanl, which led to the death of 6 people, were fired in June following an internal investigation.
Among them are 7 policemen facing murder and arbitrary detention charges for the death of 6 passersby in the operation in February last year.
A Department of Justice panel had found that the officers “unlawfully and forcibly” took the victims in Towerville, Brgy. Sto. Cristo in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan on February 13, 2020 on the ploy that they were drug suspects.
In a statement, Eleazar said the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) found that 8 other police officers acted as their accomplices and were guilty of planting firearms and illegal drugs in the victims.
This came even while the DOJ had earlier junked cases of murder and arbitrary detention against the 8 other officers supposedly due to "lack of probable cause."
"But all of them were charged with grave offense for the incident in San Jose del Monte City for violations of Section 29, [Republic Act No.] 9165 (planting of illegal drugs) and Section 38, RA [No.] 10591 (planting of firearms)," the PNP said.
"The IAS recommendation was reviewed by the Discipline, Law and Order Division of the Directorate for Personnel Records and Management which drafted the decision for approval of the Chief PNP."
Eleazar said the PNP would not tolerate such brazen acts of abuse of power, which is "unacceptable."
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap ito at hindi ko kukunsintihin ang mga ganitong uri ng pang-aabuso at kalokohan dahil ang mga katulad nila ang sumisira sa aming kampanya laban sa droga at sa pangalan ng inyong PNP," he pointed out.
(This is unacceptable and I will never condone this kind of abuse and wrongdoing because the likes of them are the ones destroying our campaign against drugs and the name of your PNP.)
The Bulacan incident is among cases of alleged summary killings under the administration's heavily criticized drug war.
Authorities have denied being behind extrajudicial slays under the anti-narcotics campaign, saying those killed in police operations had violently resisted arrest.
Official figures from the PNP put the tally of suspects killed in drug war operations in the Philippines at just above 6,000, but rights groups claim the number could go as high as more than 30,000 if vigilante killings are also included.
— With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News