PNP to Human Rights Watch: Show evidence to back allegations

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) called on global group Human Rights Watch (HRW) to show proof that cops are resorting to extrajudicial killings and planting evidence in the name of President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war.

"Provide the evidence, affidavits, and the accounts because it's easy. We have nothing to hide. If wrong was done, we will fix it. If there was a violation of the law, we'll file cases. However, those kinds of allegations need proof. If there are complaints, we will act on them," PNP spokesman Dionardo Carlos told media hours after the release of HRW's report on the police killings.

In a study conducted from October 2016 to January 2017, the human rights group found instances where police either planted evidence on suspected drug users and dealers or came up with reports that differed vastly from accounts by relatives who witnessed the supposed operation.

HRW interviewed witnesses, checked media reports, and obtained copies of official police reports as part of its study.

The study also found that the PNP was responsible for the vigilante-style killings of drug suspects.

The PNP took offense at this assertion, insisting that the 24 incidents investigated by HRW were isolated ones. "Their statement should have been specific. The statement should not have said it's the entire PNP," added Carlos.

Police have repeatedly denied allegations that they are resorting to extralegal means in the anti-drug campaign.

An earlier Amnesty International report had claimed police were being paid to murder drug suspects. The PNP also denied that and demanded proof.

The police spokesman, however, said they would "welcome" the filing of cases in court over alleged instances of police carrying out extrajudicial killings.

But according to the HRW probe, families of victims are typically too afraid to press charges or file a complaint. –