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Don't believe dead suspects fought back? Look at killed cops, says PNP

MANILA, Philippines – Nobody would die if nobody fought back.

This is the message of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the public after polling firm Social Weather Stations found that half of Flipinos do not believe that suspects fought back when they were killed by cops.

"Kung hindi 'yan nanlaban walang mamamatay na pulis, walang masusugatang pulis o sundalo. Walang mamamatay na biktima (If they did not fight back, there wouldn't be any dead cops or soldiers. No victim would be killed)," Carlos said, facing reporters on Tuesday, September 27.

According to Carlos, they have recorded a total of 85 cops and soldiers killed in drug operations, 15 months since President Rodrigo Duterte declared the popular but bloody war on drugs.

Human rights activists claim the death toll of the drug war has reached at least 13,000, while the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has counted 3,811 drug suspects killed in police operations.

The deaths come from police killing suspects for their defense – and as the PNP has emphasized many times before – for their survival. (READ: Dela Rosa cries again in Senate hearing, insists 'no policy to kill')

"It only shows that there was resistance and there was anger because we lost lives,"Carlos said. 

Where doubts come from

While cops have claimed regularity in all operations, reports have accused police of many irregularities in the fatal operations. (READ: The Impunity Series)

Cops have mainly been accused of killing drug suspects in police operations despite the suspect's submission. Reports have also accused cops of planting evidence in the crime scene, such as guns and drug packets, to point to the guilt of the killed.

These killings have also been marked by cases which have been elevated to the national spotlight.

Just last month, Caloocan resident 17-year-old Kian delos Santos was killed in a drug raid. Cops claimed that the teen fired the first shots, forcing them to kill him. CCTV footage and witness reports, however, claimed Delos Santos was killed defenseless.

His death was followed by the killing of 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz, who was shot dead by cops after supposedly robbing a taxi then shooting at the uniformed men in pursuit. Further investigation pointed to Arnaiz being killed defenseless too. (READ: Kian and Carl: What the deaths of two boys have in common)

The outrage and doubt that resulted from the boys' deaths forced the PNP to replace all cops in Caloocan City.

Despite the blunders, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has repeatedly called on his men to march on, but with more caution. – 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.

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