MANILA, Philippines – Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said on Wednesday, August 23, the government's war on drugs has turned his diocese into a "killing field," with 17-year-old Kian delos Santos as the latest victim.
In a press briefing with Senator Risa Hontiveros at a restaurant in Manila, David said areas near Caloocan, such as the cities of Navotas and Malabon, had also experienced relentless killings.
In Caloocan, he said at least 80% of the killings were done by "vigilantes."
The Diocese of Kalookan is composed of the southern part of Caloocan, Malabon, and Navotas, covering some of the poorest communities in the Philippines.
"We don't know who they are, but they roam the streets every night," the bishop said.
In police reports, these killings are called deaths under investigation but there are no resolutions, he added.
David wondered how come cases where perpetrators were described by witnesses as "masked men" turned out to be police operations in official reports. "Is it legitimate for the police to conduct police operations in masks?"
David said Delos Santos' case is the only one so far that is being thoroughly investigated.
However, police's allegations of Delos Santos being a courier must be dropped, he said. "Did he fight back or not? That is the issue here. You cannot impose allegations on a dead person."
Trust in the police