PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa yesterday ordered the relief of officers assigned at the Antipolo Police over their alleged involvement in the summary execution of a couple last July.
He relieved the policemen identified in the sworn affidavit of a certain Mary Rose, 23, the daughter of the slain couple Rodelio and Rosalie Campos, as the ones allegedly involved in the death of her parents.
“Effective today I-relieve ko ‘yang mga tao na ‘yan. Ilagay ko sa administration holding unit at pa-conduct ko ng investigation ang IAS (Internal Affairs Section). Kung mapu- prove lahat ng pulis d’yan sa Antipolo, buong police commander tanggalin ko lahat,” said Dela Rosa.
“Ipa-restrict ko ‘yung mga tao na ‘yun. Restrict sa camp lahat ng nasa listahan na binanggit sa affidavit,” said Dela Rosa in a chance interview after the public hearing.
Mary Rose has testified that his father was a “police asset” and had been used by some Antipolo police to “repack” and sell seized shabu. Last July 20, two policemen, identified only as a certain “Torres” and “Rabe” called up her parents to go to the police station to deliver money, proceeds from the sale of shabu amounting to P50,000.
“Dali dali pong umalis ang papa, mama ko. Dala po nila ‘yung i-re remit na pera kay Rabe,“ she told the senators. Asked by Sen. Leila de Lima why her parents would remit money to ‘Rabe,’ she said:“Dahil po sa shabu. Last na po ‘yun last na po ‘yun dahil magbabago na sila.”
Asked where her parents got their supply of shabu, Mary Rose said: ”Sa mga pulis po ng Antipolo. Pumupunta sila sa bahay. Hinahatid nila ‘yung droga sa bahay. Pinapa-repack po sa papa ko.”
She also claimed that her mother managed to text one of their relatives and say that should something bad happen to them, it would be the handiwork of a certain policeman, identified only as “Kong.” On July 22, another policeman informed her that the bodies of her parents were already at the morgue.
Asked whether he acknowledges the alleged police abuse in pursuing the government’s heightened campaign against illegal drugs, Dela Rosa said: ”Na-file na nga ang kaso. Ano pa ibig sabihin nuon? Iyun ang findings ng aming investigator. Iyung accused, tao ko. Iyung investigator tao ko din. Ako nasa gitna dahil ako commander. Mahirap sa part ko. Tao ko ‘yung akusado, tao ko ‘yung nag-imbestiga. So I must stay objective sa gitna ako.”
“On the other side naman, ang ganda ng takbo ng kanilang anti-drugs (campaign). Ang daming nag surrender, ang daming nahuli. At saka naramdaman natin sa taumbayan. Nagsasabi sila na maganda ang ginagawa ninyo. Di ko naman pwede right away I-relieve ko yung commander ko on the ground dahil hindi na-solve ng death under investigation. Maganda mga feedback ng taumbayan,” he said.
“It will work both ways. Kung ikaw ay mahinang pulis, ma-lo low morale ka, mag-slow down ka sa operations mo. Kung ikaw ay police na committed sa iyong trabaho the more mag-double ka sa efforts mo sa war on drugs para manalo tayo,” he said.
Dela Rosa added: ”Tao lang sila, maapetkuhan din, tao lang eh. Na lo-low morale din sila, but then again it’s my job to encourage them to continue, motivating them para ituloy nila trabaho nila. Six months lang, manalig kayo. Make or break ito.”
At least 12 witnesses, relatives of 11 victims of alleged extrajudicial killings, showed up yesterday at the Senate investigation into the reported summary execution of suspected drug traffickers by some policemen and unidentified vigilantes.
One of them, Harra Kazuo, 26, accused some policemen of killing her live-in partner, Jaybee Bertes, 28, and his father, Renato, 48, while under custody of the Pasay City Police last July 8.
Kazuo admitted that her partner was a drug pusher but she claimed that her partner was arrested “without any warrant” on the eve of his scheduled surrender to authorities.
Bertes’ father went with him to the police station supposedly to protect his son. However, they were killed after they allegedly tried to grab the service firearm of their police escort. Both sustained three gunshot wounds.
The investigation was jointly conducted by De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
“As I have said, my concern does not only revolve around the growing tally of killings reported by the Philippine National Police (PNP). What is particularly worrisome is that the campaign against drugs seems to be an excuse for some law enforcers and other elements like vigilantes to commit murder with impunity,” said De Lima.
“The momentum that the police has gained over a short period through life-risking work of fighting illegal drugs must not be deterred by legislative inquiries like what we are conducting right now. Frankly I have never seen anything of the scale of the current anti-illegal drugs campaign under this administration,” said Lacson.