Dela Rosa: Mandaluyong cops stupid, but had no ill intent
MANILA, Philippines – Stupid, but at least they had clean hearts.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa admitted Mandaluyong cops involved in a botched operation that killed 2 were "stupid" (tanga) but said he felt pity for them because they were simply "doing their jobs."
"Again, sabihin ko sa inyo... kawawa yung mga pulis ko. Nagtratrabaho lang yan. Mabuti na yung mga tanga na may malinis na kalooban kaysa yung mga marunong pero may mga masamang intensyon na mamaril ng mga drug pusher na mga bata bata nila. Eh di, di ko tanggap yun. Pero yung mga mamaril dahil may maling information, at least regularity in the performance of their duty," said Dela Rosa on January 2, Tuesday, at a press briefing in Camp Crame.
(I'll tell you again. I pity my police. They're just doing their job. I'd rather have cops who are stupid but had clean intentions over those who are skilled but have bad intentions in shooting drug pushers whom they used to protect. I cannot accept the latter. But those who shot at people because of wrong information, at least there's still regularity in their performance of duty.)
On December 28, a team of Mandaluyong police shot at a vehicle that they thought had suspects in an earlier shooting incident in the same area. They were wrong. The vehicle was actually trying to bring the victim of the earlier shooting incident to a hospital.
Cops were responding to information provided by the barangay tanod (village watchmen) who were first on the scene and had ealier fired at the vehicle and the people inside it before the cops arrived.
Two people – the original shooting victim and a construction worker – died as a result of the incident.
The Mandaluyong city police chief and 10 other involved in the incident have since been administratively relieved pending a full investigation. They face both administrative and criminal charges over the incident.
"Tatanga tanga kayo eh, bakit kayo naniwala (You were stupid, why did you believe them right away)?" said Dela Rosa, referring to the team of police personnel.
Dela Rosa said the apparent lapses in the cops' conduct during the operation could be blamed on faulty training. He stressed, once again, the importance of bringing back police training solely to the PNP itself.
When pressed by media over how verifying information should be common or basic knowledge for all cops, Dela Rosa answered: "What if totoo yung report ng mga tanod? What if totoo yun tas ayun ang tanod pumunta doon, sila yung nakipag-engage sa mga gunman ang police ngayon dahil kabado, ayaw sumali... lalabas na tanga ang mga pulis... ganon lang yun. Damned if you do, damned if you don't."
(What if the report was true? What if it was true and the tanods went there and they engaged with the gunman. And because the police is unsure, he refused to join the right. The police will come off as stupid. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.)
Police have been criticized once again for the botched operation, the last in a series of high-profile controversies the PNP has had to face in 2017. In the National Capital Region, local police in Caloocan City also faced criticism over the deaths of teenage boys who allegedly "fought back."
The police's actions in operations have been under scrutiny since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his war on drugs. While it's the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that is the designated the lead in all anti-illegal drug operations, it's the police that took the spotlight in the first year of the drug war because of the sheer number of operations they conducted.
The PNP has also been accused of resorting to extralegal means in the name of the drug war, all allegation Dela Rosa has repeatedly denied.
Criticis have pointed to the Mandaluyong operation as proof of a culture of impunity and carelessness in the police force, particularly when it comes to deadly force. Dela Rosa rejected this.
"Hindi naman. Naunahan kasi, nagkaputukan na, pumutok-putok na ang mga tanod. Sumali nalang ang mga pulis at madilim. Pag gabi, di mo makita kung may pumuputok mula sa loob ng sasakyan. Kawawa talaga ang pulis, naawa ako sa kanila. But still, pumalpak sila. Mananagot sila," he said.
(It's not that. Someone got there before them. The fight was ongoing, the tanods were alread shooting. The cops joined in, it was dark. If it's nighttime, you can't see clearly if the shooting is from inside a vehicle. I really pity the police. But still, they made a mistake. And they will face the consequences.)
Still, the PNP chief promised to "help" them even as they push through with filing cases against the cops involved. – Rappler.com