Using drug war to extort? 'I'll break your necks,' Dela Rosa tells cops
MANILA, Philippines – The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, November 14, said he would "literally" break the necks of cops who use the ongoing war on drugs to extort money.
Speaking during a press conference in Camp Crame on Monday, Dela Rosa made an "appeal" to the public to help the PNP "police [its] ranks."
Dela Rosa said there are "scalawag" cops who use the national campaign against illegal drugs to extort money from individuals. These cops supposedly use inclusion in drug lists as a threat against rich businessmen and even drug suspects. The cops then try to extort money in exchange for the removal of the person's name from the list.
"'Yung mga pulis na gumagawa niyan, I promise 'pag mahuli ko kayo, babalian ko kayo ng leeg. I am giving this warning," said Dela Rosa.
(These police who do this… I promise if I catch you, I'll break your necks. I am giving this warning.)
Dela Rosa added: "Even if you're a drug lord, a drug personality, or a drug pusher, if you've been extorted by a police officer, report it to me, report it to the PNP, and the wrongdoing of that police will be twice that of the drug pusher. I will neutralize them. This is a warning to police who go around using the war on drugs to extort money. I will break your neck. I mean that literally."
Lists of people with supposed links to illegal drugs have been much feared in the country since President Rodrigo Duterte began his war on drugs. Duterte himself in August read out a list of politicians, police, and judges with alleged links to illegal drugs.
Before this, he named 5 retired and active high-ranking police officials with alleged links to the narcotics trade. He also ordered a mayor and his son to surrender – even without a standing arrest warrant – following a police operation that linked them to illegal drugs.
At least two mayors have been killed in anti-drug operations – Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in Maguindanao, and Rolando Espinosa Sr of Albuera in Leyte. A senator has tagged Espinosa's death as an extrajudicial killing. (READ: Senate probe: Poorly-written script in Espinosa killing?)
Dela Rosa has led the PNP in Duterte's popular but controversial campaign against illegal drugs. Since July 1, more than 4,800 deaths have been linked – indirectly or directly – to the campaign. Of those deaths, over 1,800 were a result of police operations.
Another 3,001 are considered "deaths under investigation." While police insist these deaths aren't automatically linked to illegal drugs, officials have admitted that many of these cases are apparent vigilante-style killings where victims are dumped in random streets with handwritten signs that label them as drug pushers or sometimes, even common criminals. – Rappler.com