PNP insists: ‘All drug war deaths being investigated’

Rambo Talabong
PNP insists: ‘All drug war deaths being investigated’
'What I'm confident of is, during our time even until now, those police operations, all of them are being investigated, even those which we call deaths under investigation,' says PNP chief Oscar Albayalde

MANILA, Philippines – All killings are being investigated.

This was the assurance given by the Philippine National Police (PNP) after the Supreme Court (SC) ruled for the release of tens of thousands of documents related to the killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

The SC requested for the documents as it decides on the constitutionality of the government’s flagship project.

“What I’m confident of is, during our time even until now, those police operations, all of them are being investigated, even those which we call deaths under investigation,” PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde told reporters in a mix of English and Filipino in Camp Crame.

“All of those are being investigated by our IAS (Internal Affairs Service), even the alleged EJKs (extrajudicial killings),” Albayalde said.

 

The PNP IAS, however, only files administrative cases – not criminal ones. Its independence has also been questioned, given that the department is also manned by cops. And killings which are being criminally investigated have not shown promising results. (READ: Duterte gov’t allows ‘drug war’ deaths to go unsolved)

By ruling in favor of the release, the Court will now share a copy of documents related to 20,322 killings by vigilantes and policemen across the Philippines to the Center for International Law (CenterLaw) and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).

The investigation hits closer to home for the PNP chief, as he led the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) when the so-called drug war hit a climax in police operation killings in late 2016.

The PNP’s defense has always been the same: That drug suspects fought back (nanlaban), forcing cops to retaliate and shoot them dead. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.