PNP: Suspicious timing for ‘baseless’ Reuters report on drug killings

Rambo Talabong

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PNP: Suspicious timing for ‘baseless’ Reuters report on drug killings


The report – about a Manila police operation where suspects are allegedly killed deliberately – is released a day before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the PNP's war on drugs

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa slammed Reuters on Tuesday, November 28, for supposedly “timing” its report on drug-related killings when the PNP was set to defend the drug war.

“They are timing it. They release damaging reports about the PNP when we are about to be back on the frontlines of the drug war. This means that our enemies do not want us to return, they do not want us to return to the war on drugs,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino, in an interview on the sidelines of the Supreme Court oral arguments on the PNP’s anti-drug campaign.

Dela Rosa was referring to the Reuters report on a Manila police drug operation, where witnesses alleged that cops committed irregularities, such as deliberately killing drug suspects, then delaying bringing them to the hospital.

The report also showed CCTV footage of cops clearing the area of witnesses before the operation, then turning away a camera after the operation. 

It was released a day before the PNP was set to lay down its arguments as to why the memorandum circulars governing the drug war should not be declared unconstitutional. (READ: Was the PNP’s war on drugs illegal? Here’s why lawyers think so)

Accompanying Dela Rosa, Manila Police District (MPD) chief Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel belied the allegations made in the Reuters report.

“It’s inconclusive at the very least, it has no basis, only that there are purely speculations or conjectures that the police did not observe police operation procedures,” Coronel said.

He added that he stands by his men, the police of the MPD Station 2, and that they have evidence to prove their innocence.

“So far our reports indicate we have observed all the rules of the police operating procedures: the targets have been properly identified, they have pending criminal records, and notorious drug pushers involved in robbery, holdup in the area, as attested by witnesses,” Coronel said.

According to Coronel, the policemen involved in the shooting have been under investigation by the PNP Internal Affairs Service, but they will remain on duty unless the IAS recommends their relief.

“No relief order has been issued so far. So far, [there is] absence of showing wrongdoing of the policemen. They will remain on duty to maintain peace and order in the area,” Coronel said. –

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Rambo Talabong

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.