Gatchalian tells PNP to stop vigilantes: They’re not Batman
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to make “drastic” efforts to suppress vigilante killings of suspected drug pushers in the country.
“The PNP needs to work double-time in investigating the murder of Filipino citizens by lawless elements who have decided to take the law into their own hands. These vigilantes must think they are noble crusaders like Batman, but in reality they are merely vicious criminals who need to be brought to justice,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Thursday.
The senator urged PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to ensure that the police would mount the proper investigations and anti-vigilante operations to restore order in the streets.
“Director General Bato has to take control of the situation by making sure that these vigilantes can’t just murder people in the streets with impunity. Only the police force and the judiciary should have the power to punish criminals for their crimes. Criminals shouldn’t be able to punish each other,” he said.
Gatchalian noted that hundreds of drug-related killings have already been reported since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office on June 30. While some have occurred during official police operations, he said, many of these murders have been reportedly committed by unidentified hitmen.
READ: THE KILL LIST
He reiterated that the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and other law enforcement and executive agencies should have the first opportunity to conduct investigations into the killings because the work falls squarely into their jurisdiction.
But if lawlessness and violence continue to escalate without any answers or action coming from law enforcement officials, then Gatchalian said he would have to consider supporting a Senate investigation into the matter.
“We need to do everything we can to restore peace and order in the streets,” the senator stressed.
The Senate committee on justice headed by Senator Leila de Lima is set to conduct an investigation on the sudden rise of alleged extrajudicial killings in the country. IDL/rga
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