Vice President Leni Robredo fumed at statements downplaying the death of a toddler during a drug sting, saying “accidents” like the fatal shooting of three-year-old Myca Ulpina happen because authorities are not doing their jobs properly.
“Kapag nawalan ng isang miyembro ng pamilya, irreversible na iyon. Hindi mo puwedeng sabihin na, ‘Eh nangyayari kasi, ang aksidente kasi nangyayari.’ Nangyayari kasi hindi niyo inayos ang trabaho niyo,” Robredo said Sunday on her radio program.
[Translation: If you lose a member of a family, that’s irreversible. You can’t say, ‘That was an accident.’ That happens because you don’t do your job properly.]
She said dismissing the deaths of innocent people in anti-drug operations as mere accidents reduces them to statistics.
“Parang numero lang, talagang nangyayari. Hindi nakikita iyong mukha, iyong dalamhati, iyong pamilyang naiiwan,” Robredo said.
[Translation: They’re just like numbers, they just happen. They don’t see the faces, the grief of the family that experience a loss.]
She also said, “Dapat wake-up call ito sa lahat na ito na iyong huli. Pero kung wala tayong gawin, kahit may nangyari nang ganito, wala tayong gawin, kasalanan na natin iyon.”
[Translation: This should be a wake-up call for everyone and this should be the last. But if we don’t do anything, even if something like this has already happened, if we don’t do anything, we’re at fault now.]
Robredo said this in response to former Philippine National Police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who stated that “sh*t happens” during police operations when asked about Ulpina’s case.
Dela Rosa has earned the ire of his fellow senators over his remarks, saying he is trivializing the death of the toddler and proves his complicity in drug war-related deaths.
The Human Rights Watch said that Dela Rosa’s statement also proves that he is not competent enough to lead a probe into the Duterte administration’s drug war, which has killed over 5,000 drug suspects since 2016, according to government data.
Dela Rosa is seen to chair the Senate Public Order committee, which is in charge of probing the drug war.