Over 450 die under police custody since Duterte assumed office

MANILA, Philippines – Over 450 suspects have died under police custody since July 2016 or when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Internal Affairs Service (IAS) told Rappler on Tuesday, October 22.

"Alarming ito (This is alarming)," said IAS chief Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo in a phone interview.

According to Triambulo, his office has counted 461 suspects detained by cops killed. And they are not done counting yet, he said.

So far, their records reach as late as August 2019, he added.

He said that they are also currently trying to map out where most deaths occurred, what alleged violations of laws they were detained for, and whether they died of natural causes due to the over-congested and dilapidated detention facilities, or if they were killed behind bars.

The PNP IAS is an internal police monitor tasked to investigate police abuses. It has been pushing for its separation from the PNP as it still answers to the PNP chief in the current hierarchy.

Should they find irregularities in the narratives of the deaths involving cops, they could file administrative complaints and recommend criminal complaints against police suspects.

High-profile cases of deaths under police custody include the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, who was killed by cops in a supposed rubout in November 2016; and 25-year-old Genesis Argoncillo, who was beaten to death inside a police detention cell in Novaliches, Quezon City in June 2018. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.