CAVITE, Philippines – Don’t blame us for the dead bodies. It’s the drug dealers who are killing each other, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday, July 14.
As some sectors continued to criticize the police and the government for the apparent summary killings of suspected drug dealers, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa urged the public to look at drug syndicates as possibly behind these.
“Alam mo, when you know itong drug syndicate ngayon, marami na tayo… they’re killing each other,” Dela Rosa said during a press conference in Trece Martires on Thursday, July 14.
(When you know these drug syndicates… we’ve gotten info that they’re killing each other.)
Citing information from those who’ve surrendered, Dela Rosa explained that drug syndicates themselves are killing their distributors, supposedly because the campaign against drugs has prevented the latter from remitting money.
“Kaya ang patayan ngayon, sige kayo turo sa pulis, pulis ang pinagsususpetsahan ninyo… ang pulis naman ang ginagawa nila is legitimate operations. Pero yung gumagawa ng mga patayan na salvage salvage, tapon dito tapon doon… yan ang kagagawan ng mga drug syndicates,” he added.
(So the killings you see now, you always point to the police but the police are only doing legitimate operations. Those who are salvaging suspects, throwing bodies everywhere… those are drug syndicates.)
Just last Wednesday, July 13, two drug suspects were killed in an alleged shootout with policemen in Dinalupihan, Bataan. Last week, at least 7 alleged drug dealers were killed by cops in various areas in Central Luzon.
Dela Rosa, who was sworn into office on July 1, leads the PNP in its campaign to eliminate crime and the spread of illegal drugs. Tens of thousands of drug dependents and pushers have surrendered to authorities while hundreds have died in the first two weeks of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term alone.
A crackdown on crime, illegal drugs and corruption was among Duterte’s key campaign promises.
But some sectors want these operations investigated.
Legislators, former justice secretary Senator Leila de Lima included, will be launching a congressional probe into supposed instances of summary killings during police operations. Dela Rosa has accused De Lima of “legal harassment.”
Vice President Leni Robredo, the newest addition to the Duterte Cabinet, also recently expressed concern over a “growing culture of vigilantism and violence.”
“They can criticize kung gusto nila. It depends sa i-criticize nila kung may makita silang ebidensiya, they can file the necessary complaint para ma-aksyunan yung mga kung mayroon man nagmamalabis, mayroon mang mga abuso na ginawa ang ating kapulisan, hindi man natin kinocover up,” added Dela Rosa, who had previously insisted he was against summary executions.
(They can criticize if they want. But it depends… If they have the evidence to back it up, they can file the necessary complaint so we can act on it, if ever police are excessive, abusive… we won’t cover that up.)
Dela Rosa added that an intensified campaign against crime and drugs is no excuse for extrajudicial activities. “Hindi natin sila ikocover-up dahil you cannot correct a mistake by making another mistake, di ba? Mali na yung ginagawa nila, yung pag-di-deal ng drugs eh gagawa ka pa ng extrajudicial, which is another mali? So hindi mo maayos yung buong Pilipinas,” he added.
(We will not cover that up because you cannot correct a mistake by making another mistake, right? Dealing drugs is already wrong so why would you do another wrong by resorting to extrajudicial killings? You won’t be able to fix the Philippines.)
Estimates peg the death toll of the war against drugs at 300 – including those slain in legitimate police operations and those who were simply found dead with placards declaring their supposed links to drugs found near or attached to their bodies. – Rappler.com