PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa had said they are ready to obey an order from the Senate to stop their “unconstitutional” Oplan: Tokhang but better be ready when the drug menace rears its ugly head again and continue to destroy the youth and the Filipino family.
“Mas alam nila ’yun. Kung unconstitutional, we will follow. Kung sabihin nila sa kanilang report na we stop Oplan: Tokhang, then we will stop. Pero kung sabihin nila you stop your war on drugs and let the drug menace continue, pag-isipan ko muna kung stop ko ’yan dahil hindi ako papayag na kakalat ’yung droga. Pero ’yung legal standpoint na ’yan we will follow what is legal, iko-consider namin,” the PNP chief said in reaction to Senate report which says that Oplan: Tokhang is ‘unconstitutional.’
Since July 1, official PNP reports said that more than 2,000 armed drug dealers have been killed in gunbattles with the police while over 39,000 have been arrested ‘alive’ in anti-narcotics operations.
Under Oplan: Tokhang, police have visited nearly 4.5 million houses of suspected drug offenders, prompting the surrender of over 834,000 confessed drug offenders, more than 62,000 of them pushers and over 772,000 others who admitted to being drug dependents.
During the period, 17 policemen and three soldiers have been killed while 47 PNP personnel and eight Armed Forces operatives were wounded while fighting heavily-armed drug traffickers.
Dela Rosa said President Duterte may have included other government troops killed in other anti-crime and anti-terror operations in his statement that 54 cops and 58 soldiers have been killed while 253 have been wounded as a result of the anti-drug war.
“Baka nasama n’ya ’yung lahat ng police operations. Sinabi n’ya ’yung namatay kasama doon ’yung operation sa Maute (Lanao del Sur), ’yung mga wounded at namatay sa Maute, and for all you know, this Maute Group is also protecting drug lords in the area. Nalalaman ni Presidente ’yung anti-terrorism operation du’n sa anti-drugs dahil this Maute Group, ito rin pinagmama-yabang ng drug lord d’yan na protector nila, may connection,” he said.
Newly-promoted National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar D. Albayalde also defended his men from charges that they were overdoing their implementation of the PNP Oplan: Tokhang and making unreasonable drug-related arrests, minors even included.
Albayalde said that if some minors have been arrested in anti-drug raids by NCRPO operatives since last July 1, he considers them as ‘isolated.’ He said policemen conducting legitimate anti-drug operations for sure would not intend to place children under arrest.
In some cases, minors have been placed under police custody after they were found in notorious shabu ‘tiyangges’ or drug dens raided by NCRPO agents in different parts of Metro Manila including Quezon City.
The classmate of Gen. Dela Rosa from Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986, however, assured the public that complaints against NCRPO operatives, who commit irregularities in the performance of their anti-criminality missions, would be promptly investigated.
“Kung talagang may pagkukulang ’yung kapulisan natin d’yan, I’m sure they will be punished and penalized. They will face both administrative and criminal charges,” he said.
Albayalde said that since last July 1, some 12,000 known drug offenders have been arrested by the police without shots being fired since they did not put up any armed resistance. He said that during the past five months, less than 2,000 armed drug dealers in the metropolis have been killed in gunbattles with the local police too.
“Ang arrest dito is around 12,000 na for the past 5 months alone. ’Yung killed dito is less than 2,000, so that’s about 5 to 6 percent compared doon sa nahuhuli natin. This is a very small percentage compared natin doon sa nahuhuli talaga natin,” he said.
Manila Police District director Senior Supt. Joel Napoleon M. Coronel also said that they will continue their implementation of the PNP Oplan: Tokhang unless the court orders them to refrain from doing it.
A Senate report earlier described as ‘unconstitutional’ the PNP Oplan: Tokhang. “In the absence of a court order, the presumption of legal right exists so we will follow the Operation: Tokhang until such time it’s considered null and void,” said the lawyer from PMA Class 1987.