DRUG syndicates and not vigilantes are behind the spate of alleged extra-judicial killings in the last few months, Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Tuesday.
During a command conference at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Dela Rosa said they have “scientific evidence” to prove the claim. He added the PNP has identified the drug syndicates involved in the killings.
“We learned that because we have scientific evidence leading to that conclusion. You will know that later,” Dela Rosa said.
He said some alleged vigilante killings were actually syndicated killings by those involved in drugs.
“You will be surprised when we release the data and facts on who are killing each other,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino.
Dela Rosa added that the evidence would be presented in a forthcoming Senate hearing into the spate of killings of suspected drug dealers in various parts of the country.
Dela Rosa’s statement came after Senator Panfilo Lacson, himself a former police chief, urged the PNP to put an end to the vigilante killings, as it sent the wrong message that the police cannot do the job or that the killings were sanctioned by the government.
Lacson said some 681 people were killed by vigilantes from July 1 to Aug. 3, which translates to an average of 20 killings a day. He then said that an average of 12 suspects were killed a day in legitimate police operations.
Dela Rosa vowed to cooperate with the Senate, which begins hearings on the extra-judicial killings on Aug. 22.
“We are addressing those issues and in fact we are preparing for our appearance before the Senate,” Dela Rosa said. “We are ready. We are not hiding anything and we will attend the hearing with a clean heart.”
Dela Rosa assured the senators that they will answer each question truthfully and will hide nothing and that they will not be cowed or coerced by senators in their questioning.
He said he was satisfied with the performance of new police regional directors, whom he appointed on July 1.
He added that the Senate investigation will not hamper their anti-illegal drugs campaign.
In a media briefing, Dela Rosa also vowed to cooperate with lawmakers looking into the deaths.
Also on Tuesday, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Vice President Leni Robredo for blaming the administration for the extra-judicial killings.
Dante Liban, a former Quezon City councilor and representative, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director and senatorial bet in the May 2016 elections, said Robredo must be “more circumspect” in accusing the Duterte administration.
“The killings could be the handiwork of vigilantes who hate the drug trade and those involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country,” he said.
“Drug syndicates are trying to eliminate their assets to cover up their illegal activities,” he added.
He said he is backing an investigation into the summary executions of drug suspects.
“I agree. We agree that there must be a probe,” he told the Manila Standard.
But he said Robredo, as part of Duterte’s Cabinet, must restrain herself from making any remarks against the government.
“Aside from that, she should check the facts and figures behind the killings of the drug offenders,” he added.
In Duterte’s bailiwick of Davao City, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 11 chief Supt. Edilberto Leonardo admitted that drugs are still rampant at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF) based on their investigation.
Leonardo said that their recent intelligence gathering found that there are still drug transactions inside the prison. He added that the detainees still own firearms and bladed weapons.
Recently, three Chinese inmates were killed inside the DPFF.
Authorities said two Filipino inmates used kitchen knives to kill the three, identified as Chu Kin Tung, Li Lan Yan and Wong Ming Pin, who were said to be involved in illegal drugs. With Rio N. Araja and F. Pearl A. Gajunera
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