THE anti-illegal drug campaign of the Duterte government gained support among senators as long as it is within the bounds of the law following the two-day hearing on extrajudicial killings.
“With respect to the general who’s doing a good job with the PNP, we fully support them in their effort as long as it’s within the bounds of the law... Pero I think, it’s about time that with the help of the Senate, we are willing to help you para matingnan natin how do we address these poor communities. Kasi kahit huli tayo nang huli, hindi naman natin ina-address ’yung rehabilitation ng ating drug addicts,” said Angara.
During the second day of the hearing, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa stressed that the government has no policy of killing drug suspects.
Dela Rosa made the denial during questioning by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero before the Senate committee on justice and human rights.
Asked by Escudero if the government and the PNP had a policy of killing drug users and pushers or anyone involved in illegal drugs, the PNP chief said, “There’s none, your honor. We always follow the rule of law.”
The senator was referring to earlier pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte, who threatened to kill drug suspects.
“Siguro ’yung sinabi ni Presidente ay para takutin ’yung mga drug pusher and addict,” said Dela Rosa.
He explained that the war on drugs involved “psychological warfare.”
“’Pag hindi sila natatakot ay hindi sila magsusu-surrender,” he said.
Pressing the point, Escudero asked if Duterte had at any time given the police a shoot-to-kill order against drug suspects.
“Yes, your honor,” Dela Rosa responded, but clarified: “Kung lumaban at armado at nanganganib ang buhay mo, you have to defend yourself.”
“Walang shoot to kill. There’s no such animal in the PNP manual. Am I correct?” said the senator. The police chief answered: “Rhetoric lang po ’yun, your honor, para takutin ang masasamang tao.”
Saying it would be “genocide” to kill all drug suspects, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has instead called on the government to just support a bill seeking to relax the Bank Secrecy Law so it could trace drug money through bank accounts.
Zubiri offered this solution to Dela Rosa during the Senate committee on justice and human rights’ hearing on the spate of killings in the country.
“Meron na po kaming panukala dito pero kelangan po natin ng push sa Malacañang para sa ganun ay matulungan po namin kayo. Dagdag ngipin ito, kasi hindi n’yo na po kaya... kung uubusin n’yo lahat ng pusher, genocide na po ’yan because that’s already 50,000 pushers baka magka-genocide na tayo dito hindi na po pupuwede ’yun,” he said.
Dela Rosa also assured the senator that the PNP would not tolerate scalawags involved in illegal drugs.
The head of the PNP also stressed that they are not butchers who arbitrarily kill people.
Senator Gringo Honasan, a fellow Philippine Military Academy alumnus of Dela Rosa, asked to explain the frustration the police chief showed on the first day of the hearing when he responded to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s suggestion to relieve commanders who would fail to stop the killings in their area.
“Kami po ay tao lang. Nakaka-feel kami ng frustration. Gustong-gusto po talaga naming gampanan ang papel dito sa mundo bilang pulis eh kami tao rin... Kami binuwis buhay namin, ’yung mga pulis ko nagkakakaso. Mga tao rin kami, hindi kami perpekto, kaya sana naman po ’yung treatment sa amin ibabalance lang din po,” Dela Rosa said.
Meanwhile, Dela Rosa, said that the President is set to disclose anew a list of narco-politicians.
On the other hand, Dela Rosa was commended by Senator Leila de Lima for the administration’s efforts to cut the communication lines of convicted personalities who continue to run their drug operations from the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).
She also lauded Dela Rosa for the immediate relief of some police officers implicated in the murder of two suspected drug dealers in Antipolo City.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate committee on justice and human rights, made the commendation at the resumption of the Senate investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“I thank you (General Dela Rosa) for your swift action on this matter,” she said, after Dela Rosa told her and other Senate probers about the action he took on the case of suspected drug dealers Rodelio and Rosalie Campos.
Among those implicated were PO2 Dave Barcelo, PO2 Dennis Malabanan, PO2 Allan Barangan, PO1 Ivan Joseph Gammad and PO1 Reynald Espiel Rabe, who are all members of the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs, Antipolo City Police Station.