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MANILA, Philippines – A day after President Rodrigo Duterte praised the police operation, Malacañang vowed an “impartial” investigation into the simultaneous Bulacan raids that killed a record number of alleged drug offenders in a single day.
“There will be a fair and impartial investigation on the recent Bulacan raids,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Thursday, August 17.
Malacañang, however, did not clarify if it would conduct its own investigation into the operation or if it referred to the usual internal police investigation.
On Wednesday, August 16, the President expressed satisfaction over the bloody outcome of the drug raids which killed 32 people. Duterte even said killing the same number on a daily basis would solve the country’s drug problem.
Malacañang downplayed the high death toll by explaining that it was the result of multiple raids done in a single day in one province.
“The Bulacan raids, we have to underscore, are not the result of a single action, but wide-ranging simultaneous police operations against illegal drug offenders conducted in the whole province of Bulacan,” said Duterte’s spokesman.
Police and local authorities were “met with violent resistance,” prompting police to use deadly force on the suspects, Malacañang said.
Abella cited the recovery of firearms, grenades, and live ammunition as evidence that the suspects fought back.
Bulacan police conducted 66 operations throughout the entire Tuesday, August 15.
The 24-hour operation led to 32 deaths and the arrest of 107 suspects. By the end of the operation, police had seized 230 grams of suspected crystal meth or shabu and 765 grams of marijuana leaves.
Duterte has consistently assured the police of protection and that he would pardon them if they are convicted of crimes committed in pursuit of his drug war. In July, he again reaped criticism for ordering the reinstatement of Superintendent Marvin Marcos, the leader of a police team implicated in the slay of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr and another inmate in a Leyte jail. – Rappler.com