Trillanes asks Senate to probe alleged PNP involvement in killings
MANILA, Philippines – Roughly a week after a Senate probe into the rise of the killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs" wrapped up, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV wants a new probe into the "alleged involvement of some members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in numerous extrajudicial killings in the country."
Trillanes, in particular, highlighted the case of two commissioned police officers in Oriental Mindoro who were charged with murder for allegedly gunning down the leader of a local watchdog.
Senior Inspector Magdalino Pimentel Jr and Inspector Markson Almeranez, graduates of the PNP Academy (PNPA), were arrested after they supposedly shot Citizens Crime Watch regional chairperson Zenaida Luz in front of her home on October 8.
Trillanes is among Duterte's most vocal critics in Congress. Recently, he and Senator Leila de Lima pushed for a probe into the rise of apparent summary killings directly linked to or associated with the ongoing war on drugs.
The probe also delved into Duterte's supposed role in the "Davao Death Squad," but this was thumbed down by Senator Richard Gordon, who took over the committee chairmanship following De Lima's ouster.
From July 1 to October 24, at least 1,711 drug suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations around the country. Another 2,730 deaths are "under investigation" as of October 14. Most of these deaths "under investigation" are "vigilante-style" but are not automatically linked to illegal drugs.
"The figure is very alarming especially since members of government forces are allegedly being used to perpetuate this kind of killings," said Trillanes in a resolution he filed with the Senate.
A campaign to stamp out illegal drugs was among Duterte's key promises during the 2016 presidential elections. Thus far, it's police that's taken the lead, conducting over 32,700 anti-drug operations since Duterte's term started on July 1.
Over 31,297 suspects have been arrested and another 750,759 drug users and pushers considered "surrendered" as a result of "Oplan TokHang," a knock-and-plead operation where cops visit suspected drug personalities at their homes.
Trillanes, a former Philippine Navy officer, also cited a report from The Guardian where an anonymous police officer claimed to be part of a "special operation team" specifically formed to kill suspected criminals. Dela Rosa had earlier denied the creation of these teams. – Rappler.com