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‘Drug war numbers will still rise’

The casualties in President Rodrigo Duterte administration’s war on drugs will continue to rise as long as the suspects are “armed and drug-crazed,” the Philippine National Police said Friday.

“This is not heaven, this is the real world where people will die in the process, that we have the authority to protect the rest of the Filipino people from the scourge of illegal drugs,” PNP spokesman Benigno Durana told reporters on Friday.

• President Duterte on Friday increased the bounty for “ninja” or rogue cops from P3 million to P5 million.

Ninja cops were the tag given to police officers involved in the illegal drug trade. Duterte initially offered P2 million for the capture of ninja cops in August last year, and then raised it to P3 million a month later.

“If you bring him [rogue cop] to me dead, you get P5 million. If alive, you get P10,000,” Duterte said in a speech during the convention of the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago in Davao City.

• The Commission on Human Rights on Friday reiterated its call for the Philippine National Police to ensure full accountability of the officers involved in all cases of drug-related deaths. 

“We also ask the public to never be silent amid the culture of impunity. Let us collectively resist any abuse, remember and honor the lives that were unnecessarily sacrificed, and demand full and fast justice,” commission spokeswoman Jacqueline de Guia said.

• A panel in the House of Representatives has recommended for plenary approval a measure on wiretapping on drug trafficking and other drug-related offenses to address the unabated entry into the country of illegal drugs.

The House committee on dangerous drugs, led by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, approved last Tuesday the still unnumbered measure, which is a consolidation of eight bills filed at the House of Representatives amending Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act.

Durana made his remark when he explained PNP data showing that six drug suspects were being killed each day.

“[It’s the] same data: six drug suspects per day. And you know drug suspects can be armed, drug-crazed and heavily armed,” Durana said. 

“As much as possible we want it not to be bloody, but you’re dealing with drug-crazed, highly armed criminals. The law enforcers cannot lay down their lives for these criminals.”

Durana said the suspects who were killed in anti-drug operations had been “denying the Filipino people of their human rights to live in a society free from the scourge of illegal drugs.”

He said the PNP’s duty to protect society from criminals would also take a heavy toll from the police authority’s side.

“[The duty] would involve some death―not only of the drug suspects but also of our police personnel. As of today, various drug law enforcement agencies have laid down their lives.”

Durana said 87 police officers had died and more than 200 authorities had been injured in the fight against illegal drugs.

He said any police operation followed procedures, and that the authorities were “doing it the right way.”

Topics: President Rodrigo Duterte , war on drugs , Philippine National Police , Benigno Durana
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