Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos on Wednesday directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to submit reports regarding the recent abductions, killings, and violence in the country.
According to Abalos, he wants to make sure the reports are not “fictitious.”
“I had a talk with (PNP) Chief Jun Azurin (Rodolfo Azurin Jr.), I asked him to give a report to me because there are many reports coming out of the media. I just want to make sure the timeline, are these true? Are these fictitious? Give me that report so that we could immediately report this to the public,” he said in a press briefing at Malacañang.
“I’ll have to see the report. He informed me that some incidents happened years ago, months ago, they were supposedly rehashed,” Abalos added.
The PNP, which is supervised by the Department of the Interior and Local Governments led by Abalos, on Wednesday dismissed a rumor that a serial killer and members of a criminal group aboard a white van are behind the series of reported killings and disappearances of several individuals.
“If we look into the circumstances of the discovery of cadavers and the reported abduction of people who were later found dead, we do not see any serial killer here because different people and motives are involved. We also do not have reported incidents of a white van being used in abducting people,” said PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo in a television interview.
Fajardo, however, acknowledged the importance of social media posts in raising public awareness against crimes and resolving cases being probed by the police.
The PNP spokesperson said there are different suspects in the recent kidnappings and that they have different motives for doing so.
Sen. Imee Marcos, sister of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on Monday urged authorities to investigate the reported disappearances and killings, especially those involving women and the youth.
Marcos made the call following the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl, who was later found dead in Bustos, Bulacan. Authorities have arrested a suspect in Camarines Sur, according to a GMA News report.
Asked if the incidents would mean there is a need to reinstate the death penalty, Abalos said every person has their own opinion regarding it.
“We have our own opinions regarding the death penalty if it is a deterrent or not. I too have my own opinion regarding this issue,” he said.
Abalos said he will be doubling the police presence amid the reported incidents.
“Don’t worry. When I became DILG chief and when I went to Camp Crame, I mentioned police visibility. It’s important that police presence can be felt,” said the former mayor and lawmaker.
Among the reports that raised concerns and fears was that of the 25-year-old man who was abducted in Taal, Batangas, last week and found dead in Sariaya, Quezon, the following day, according to Police Regional Office 4A.
There was also the case of a 34-year-old man who was abducted by armed men in Batangas and has remained missing for over two weeks now.
The senator said the police and other law enforcement agencies should boost their efforts in ending the series of disappearances and killings in many areas of the country, especially since school children have started returning to face-to-face classes.
The Commission on Human Rights has also expressed concern about the killings of the 15-year-old girl in Bulacan and a seven-year-old girl in Laguna, saying that these incidents further highlight the vulnerabilities of young children.
“Children have the right to a safe and empowering environment so they may eventually live a productive life. Crimes such as these further compound the challenges faced, particularly of girl children, during their formative years and should alarm the government to act on these concerns,” said CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia.
“As students go back to face-to-face classes again, there is a need to ensure their safety and security as well so that similar incidents won’t happen elsewhere,” she added.