Read between the lines: NCRPO defends Duterte 'bigyan mo ng baril' statement
"Pag walang baril, bigyan mo ng baril. Here's a loaded gun. Fight."
How does Metro Manila's police chief interpret a seemingly illegitimate order from President Rodrigo Duterte?
According to National Capital Region Police Office chief Oscar Albayalde, Duterte's statement telling authorities to "give a gun" to unarmed drug suspects is open to interpretation.
"That would be your call. If you are an officer or a leader, you'll know it's probably an illegal order, not legitimate. Why would you follow it? Yun yung tinatawag na judgement call. He didn't say it is a directive. You have to probably read in between the lines kung ano ang gusto talaga ng Presidente," he told ANC's Early Edition.
"Probably he's just that so emphatic or probably so enthusiastic with this war on drugs. Talaga yun ang sinasabi niya, na kung kailangan gawin, gawin. Parang ganun lang ang sinasabi niya. Pero hindi niya sinabing gawin niyo. Parang it's like giving emphasis to something only."
Duterte's statement about arming drug suspects received renewed interest following the death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was caught on CCTV being manhandled by police officers before he was shot.
Three cops linked to the killing have claimed the boy being dragged in the video was not Kian.
The President has said the police officers should go to jail if found guilty of a "rubout."
In the interview, Albayalde said cops cannot use the President's words as an alibi if they go to court. "You have to use your common sense here, your judgment. That is how I understand the statements of the President...You have to interpret it on the basis of the law. Kung ano ang sinasabi ng batas."
The Metro Manila police chief said the rising number of killings in the country is being highlighted because police operations are focused on the war on drugs.
He also denied that President Duterte ordered his men to "kill left and right" to stop the drug menace and that there is a pattern to the killings.
Albayalde also raised questions about the killings of 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo De Guzman, days after the killing of Kian.
"Why would he (Arnaiz) leave a place or his home past 12 or early morning, past 12? What would he do in Navotas? Where will he go together with this 14-year-old boy?" he asked.
"If you are a father yourself and your child will ask you if he wanted to go out that early morning, you would probably ask questions and you would probably be suspicious where he would be going," he said.
Both teenagers turned up dead days after their midnight trip.
Arnaiz was killed by cops supposedly trying to arrest him after he allegedly tried to rob a taxi driver. De Guzman was found floating in a river in Nueva Ecija on Wednesday, stabbed 30 times and his face packed with tape.