MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte admitting that his only "sin" was extrajudicial killings was only a statement born out of frustration, police chief Oscar Albayalde explained on Friday, September 28.
"The President said that out of frustration, kasi wala nang maibato sa kanya, kung anu-anong issue, so parang ang sinabi na lang niya 'O sige, inaamin ko na lang.' So out of frustration sinabi niya," Albayalde said in a Camp Crame press briefing especially called just to address Duterte's remark.
(It's because there are no issues that could be thrown at him so it's as if he said 'Alright, I'll just admit.' So he said it out of frustration.)
Why the press conference? The PNP is especially sensitive with remarks on extrajudicial killings as it is the organization accused of performing them amid the intense anti-illegal drug campaign which has been branded by the government as an unrelenting "war" against illegal drugs.
Albayalde himself was Metro Manila police chief when the incidence of drug-related killings, and killings during police anti-drugs operations intensified in the capital region.
As of August 31, 2018, the government through its #RealNumbersPH counting initiative has counted 4,854 drug suspects who have allegedly fought back and got killed in a police operation. Human rights groups, however, estimate that 20,000 have been killed in line with Duterte's anti-drug campaign, which includes killings with drug-related motives.
PNP's admission: Albayalde admitted during the briefing that there are indeed cops who have gone rogue and killed drug suspects, but he emphasized that these killings are only few and not government-ordered and sanctioned. (READ: Policing the PNP: Scalawags spoil Duterte vow to end crime)
"Wala pong binigay sa amin na order whatsoever na para pumatay even sa mga suspects (There is no order given to us whatsoever to kill even suspects)," Albayalde said.
He added in a mix of English and Filipino: "We admit that there are a few who were involved."
He said that these few have faced administrative charges. There are cops implicated in these illegal killings, however, that have been "recycled"—those who returned to service and even got promoted. – Rappler.com
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.