MANILA, Philippines – Police reports on deaths in Oplan TokHang or the drug war are a little hard to believe, going by recurring quotes from drug suspects and a suspicious “cut and paste” template, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) told the Supreme Court (SC).
FLAG, and co-petitioner Center for International Law (CenterLaw), have petitioned the SC to declare President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs unconstitutional.
In 7 police reports studied by FLAG, drug suspects who died in police operations allegedly all said “putang ina, pulis ka pala, papatayin kita!” (Fuck, you’re a cop, I’ll kill you.)
These details were reported by cops themselves in reports filed after the drug operations. The suspects are among the more than 5,000 “nanlaban” deaths, or those who allegedly resisted arrest with a gun, so the cops shot them instead.
If these police reports are to be believed, Reynaldo Javier Jr, Paul Martinez, Leo Geluz, Emelio Blanco, Ryan Eder, Jomar Manaois, Mark Anthony Bunuan, Jefferson Bunuan, and Willie Ternora, said the same exact words when they were apprehended.
FLAG is examining drug war documents that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was compelled to submit. FLAG has pointed out that many digital files were corrupted, while CenterLaw said a bulk of them were not drug-related.
In the deaths of Manaois, Mark Anthony Bunuan, and Jefferson Bunuan, a PO3 Lucena filed the police report. Lucena was the one who shot all 3.
The 3 were killed inside a small bedroom in Manaois’ home in Sta Ana, Manila, with witnesses saying they were sleeping when cops shot them.
Lucena’s police report described the 3 pulling out their guns and aiming at him:
“Upon receiving the pre-arranged signal, the rest of the team immediately rushed to the scene. However, Totong (Jomar Manaois) sensed the approaching team and then he uttered “Tang ina pulis ka,” he drew a handgun from his waist, and knowing that my life is in imminent danger thereof, I subsequently drew my service firearm and fired on Totong. Likewise, S-2 and S-3 also acted aiming a gun at me, I also fired on them.”
FLAG said it is “hard to believe” that one policeman can kill 3 armed men.
“While this happens very often in the movies, it is contrary to human experience in the real world that he would survive a situation like that unscathed and without a scratch,” said FLAG’s supplemental memorandum submitted to the SC on Monday, October 21.
In the death of Conrado Beroña, the police report revealed that 7 policemen were involved in the operation.
“Sensing our presence, suspect suddenly pulled out a firearm and ran away, he then entered an alley leading to a house, at which point the latter fired his gun successively and directly to our spot but missed,” said FLAG’s memorandum, quoting the police report.
“It is inherently incredible to believe that a suspect who is outnumbered by 7 armed police operatives will fire his gun at them,” said FLAG.
‘Cut and paste’
FLAG also pointed out how the police reports have seemingly used a “cut and paste” template.
The police report used the phrases “sensing the approaching team,” “suddenly drew his gun and fired a shot but missed.”
In an earlier press conference by FLAG, reporters asked if it’s just a case of a limited vocabulary by the police, and a practice that existed even before the Duterte administration and the war on drugs.
“Let’s just say they raised a lot of questions – every single case where you supposedly have to kill the suspect because he fought back, is unique in its facts, it cannot all be the same,” FLAG chairman Chel Diokno said then.
FLAG mentioned how these police reports show that suspects always missed their targets, which, for the lawyer group, is unbelievable.
Data by Rappler shows that thousands of drug war deaths have gone unsolved owing to a systematic gap in the investigation process by the Duterte administration.
FLAG also said police reports showed a lack of genuine investigation done by the PNP into the killings.
“This bolsters petitioners’ argument that the war on drugs has spawned police impunity and done away with accountability,” said FLAG.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is examining the killings and trying to establish jurisdiction to conduct its own investigation. Jurisdiction will be established if the ICC proves that the Philippines is unable or unwilling to probe on its own. – Rappler.com