MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa defended his men from claims that there appeared to be a pattern among cops involved in the war on drugs campaign of killing even those who were not fighting them.
Asked by Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV during the Senate Committee on Public Order hearing on Tuesday if there was such a pattern among those “di nanlaban” similar to what happened to Grade 11 student Kian delos Santos, who was allegedly murdered by Caloocan policemen and to Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, who was slain inside his detention cell, Dela Rosa said it was unfair to just focus on suspected drug personalities killed and not on the policemen who also died during encounters.
Also, Dela Rosa said it was also unjust for the senators to compare PNP’s operations to that of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) wherein all suspects were arrested and none killed.
“If you say about pattern, siguro sa intensity ng operations. Ilan ba ang NBI…kumpara sa amin na may 175,000-strong (policemen) na lahat nakafocus sa drug operations?” Dela Rosa said.
[If you say about pattern, maybe it’s because of the intensity of the operations. How many are the men at the NBI compared to the 175,000-strong policemen who are all focussed on drug operations.]
The PNP chief said it wasn’t also fair to compare his men from authorities from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“‘Yong PDEA 2,000 and yet may napatay sila na 28. Ang pulis 175,000-strong, lahat nakatutok sa drug operations. So what do you expect? Talagang may namamatay.”
[PDEA has 2,000 men and yet they killed 28 people. The police has 175,000-strong force, who are all focused on drug operations. So what do you expect? People will of course die.]
Dela Rosa told senators that while they discussed the killings of suspected drug personalities, they did not take into consideration the 75 policemen who were killed in the government’s anti-narcotics drive and the 120,000 drug suspects who were not killed but only apprehended.
“‘Di n’yo kino-consider ‘yong mga tao kong namatay sa operations…Please consider the 120,000 suspects alive. They are not killed your honor. That’s unfair your honor,” the PNP chief said.