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‘Bato’ challenges vigilantes to duel

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 358

PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa on Thursday angrily denied a Reuters’ report that police have staged-managed the fatal shooting of suspected drug dealers and users and planted evidence at crime scenes, and called on their accusers to produce clear proof that the government has sanctioned such killings.

Maintaining that there is no such thing as “State-sponsored” killings, the sharpshooting PNP chief also cursed at vigilantes whom he said are taking advantage of their ongoing war on drugs and challenged them to a gun duel.

“Galit na galit nga ako dyan sa mga p… na mga namamaril dyan na walang kalaban-laban na sinasabing vigilante. Kayong mga vigilante humarap kayo sa akin. Tayo magbarilan tayo,” the angry top cop said.

De la Rosa particularly hurled the challenge at suspected vigilantes who are known for killing defenseless drug suspects including those with their hands tied behind their backs or in handcuffs.

“Kung kayo magaling bumaril at magaling pumatay, ako harapin niyo. Makipagbarilan kayo sa akin.’ Wag yung mga taong nakatali ang kamay na binabaril niyo sa ulo,” he said.
   
The PNP chief stressed that the PNP is a professional organization composed of officers and men who do their job well despite the challenges they are facing daily. “We are policemen. We’re not a syndicate.”
   
De la Rosa particularly belied the Reuters’ report which quoted two police officers as telling their writers that police planted evidence to make it appear that drug suspects shot it out with officers in so-called buy-bust operations. Senior police officials have challenged the alleged two officers to come out in the open to substantiate their accusations.
   
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos said they are saddened by the fact that Reuters’ made a report quoting two alleged officers who are hiding under the cloak of anonymity since anybody could make such claim just to embarrass the police and the Duterte government before the eyes of the international community and the public.
   
Gen. de la Rosa also denied having sanctioned killings of unarmed drug suspects as evidenced by the thousands of known drug personalities who have been arrested alive and are now in jail since President Duterte took over on July 1, 2016.
   
Police have stressed that armed drug offenders have been killed while fighting it out with arresting officers. Those who did not were arrested and jailed, the reason why all of the country’s jails and other detention facilities are now over-crowded.
   
Gen. de la Rosa likewise denied the Reuters’ report that he has authorized the deployment of “focus teams” composed of policemen masked as vigilantes, as well as the existence of cash reward system for cops to kill targets.
   
“Hindi ko sinasanction yung mga trabaho na ‘yan. Pulis kami. Hindi kami mga sindikato. Yang ganyang trabahong yan, trabaho yan ng sindikato,” he told the Journal Group. The top official also described as “very unfair” to the PNP the Reuters’ report in which two alleged police officers-one of them in active duty and the other already retired-claimed that police officers masked as vigilantes summarily executed drug offenders and were paid a substantial amount of cash for every killing.
   
The PNP has released a full review of all homicide cases in the country from July 1, 2016 to date to dispel claims by the opposition and the international and local press that there are more than 7,000 so-called ‘Extra-Judicial Killings’ or EJKs since the Duterte government launched a massive war on drugs last year.
   
De la Rosa said the figures show that majority of the homicide cases in the country are “not the direct result of the government’s anti-drugs campaign.”