PNP on CHR’s drug war report: We want justice, too

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday emphasized its mandate to protect the people even as it recognized complaints against some cops accused of wrongdoing during the anti-drug campaign.

PNP spokesperson Police Brigadier General Roderick Alba said they were aware of the complaints filed against some police operatives who were allegedly involved in human rights violations.

However, he said these cases have been taken into the “legal spectrum.”

“Layunin din ng PNP na makamit ang hustisya because that’s what law enforcement is all about. The mandate is clear among our personnel–serve and protect the people,” Alba said in a statement.

(It is also the goal of the PNP to achieve justice because that’s what law enforcement is all about. The mandate is clear among our personnel–serve and protect the people.)

According to the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) 2022 report on Investigated Killings In Relation to the Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign, of the 798 incidents that had links to the drug trade, 793 resulted in the death of at least one victim, and the total number of victims reached 1,014.

Of this number, 920 were killed while only 87 survived. The status of the remaining seven victims is unknown.

The human rights agency added there were only 31 incidents of police operatives sustaining injuries despite the PNP’s claim that drug suspects often resist arrest.

The CHR further claimed that in 329 incidents, excessive and disproportionate force was used.

It then concluded that the government failed in its obligation to respect and protect the human rights of every citizen, in particular, victims of drug-related killings, and “encouraged a culture of impunity that shields perpetrators from being held to account.”

“Such conclusion is bereft of any factual or legal bases, it is nothing but an attempt to discredit and malign the government, both locally and abroad, and seeks to push the narrative that the killings were ‘sanctioned’ by the State,” the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s legal cooperation cluster said in a statement.

The NTF-ELCAC panel said the CHR did not include in its report “the fact that many of the deaths in the drug war were perpetrated by drug syndicates and drug groups themselves who kill their competitors.”

“The CHR, being an integral part of the government, should not demonize the very government it ought to serve and protect, more so, without basis,” it said.

The PNP respects the CHR’s findings, Alba said, while applauding police officers’ efforts to “remain grounded on our purpose to maintain peace and order.”

“Managot ang dapat managot pero hindi ito dahilan upang panghinaan kami ng loob dahil may bansa pa kaming kailangang pangalagaan,” he said.

(Those who deserve to be punished should be punished, but it should not be the reason for us to be discouraged. We still have a country that we need to protect.)

Malaca?ang dismissed the CHR’s report as a mere rehash of old allegations but said it was “pleased” that the CHR had “independently exercised its mandate.” —VBL, GMA News

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