'Identified drug pusher' killed by motorcycle-riding men in Pateros
MANILA, Philippines – Unidentified men gunned down an “identified notorious drug pusher” in the victim's own home in Pateros in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, February 1, according to police.
In a text message to reporters, South Police District chief Senior Superintendent Tomas Apolinario Jr said that at around 4:30 am on Wednesday, “unidentified armed men” entered the home of Edicer Sorima in Barangay Sta Ana, Pateros.
The men “shot the victim several times thereby sustaining multiple gunshot wounds in the neck and chest.” Sorima was killed immediately.
The same report said the 35-year-old Sorima was an “identified notorious drug pusher in the community.”
The suspects reportedly fled the crime scene onboard “unknown type of motorcycles,” according to police.
Sorima is killed days after the police were ordered to pull out of President Rodrigo Duterte’s popular but controversial war on drugs.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday, January 30, said all anti-illegal drugs police operations would be stopped, amid criticism – from Duterte himself – that many policemen were corrupt.
Duterte had earlier also ordered the disbandment of all police anti-illegal drugs units.
The Philippine police’s pullout from the war on drugs was triggered by the murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo inside Camp Crame, the police headquarters. Jee was supposedly kidnapped by police belonging to the anti-illegal drugs group.
However, the PNP’s tally of “drug personalities” killed under “Project Double Barrel Alpha” increased by 4 even after Dela Rosa’s orders.
PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said it was possible that the 3 operations that resulted in 4 deaths “happened before [Dela Rosa’s] announcement.”
Carlos, however, did not provide a breakdown of the time and place where these operations happened.
Since July 2016, police have tallied more than 7,000 deaths in the war on drugs. While over 2,500 are a result of police operations, police have tagged a bulk of the killings as "deaths under investigation." Most of them are summary-style executions with possible links to illegal drugs.
No vigilante killings too?
Metro Manila police also noted the absence of dead bodies – primarily victims of suspected vigilante groups – the day after Dela Rosa’s announcement.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief who now heads the probe into Jee’s murder, said the absence of summary killings alongside the stop to police operations “says a lot.”
“[Dela Rosa]’s announcement only covers the PNP. Why does it seem like the vigilantes are following the same orders too?” Lacson said in a chance interview on Tuesday, January 30.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will be taking over the war on drugs. Duterte had also "floated" the idea of reviving the Philippine Constabulary to take over the nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.
Days after the PNP's pull-out from the war on drugs, human rights organization Amnesty International released a report detailing corruption and abuse by police. (READ: Cops are paid to kill in PH war on drugs – Amnesty Int'l report)
The report noted that in several intances, the "drug watch list" which police used as a basis to target drug personalities, was erroneous and arbitrary. It is not clear if Sorima was part of any official drug watch list. – Rappler.com