Bato: Kill threat mere ‘rhetoric,’ part of ‘psy war’
The government has no policy of killing drug suspects, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa said on Tuesday.
De la Rosa made the denial during questioning by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero before the Senate committee on justice and human rights.
Asked by Escudero if the government and the PNP had a policy of killing drug users and pushers or anyone involved in illegal drugs, the PNP chief said, “There’s none your honor. We always follow the rule of law.”
The senator was referring to earlier pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte, who threatened to kill drug suspects.
“Siguro yung sinabi ni Presidente ay para takutin yung mga drug pusher and addict,” said De la Rosa. (Perhaps the President’s statements were to scare drug pushers and addicts) He explained that the war on drugs involved “psychological warfare.”
“Pag hindi sila natatakot ay hindi sila magsusu-surrender,” he said. (If they are not scared, they would not surrender.)
Pressing the point, Escudero asked if Duterte had at any time given the police a shoot-to-kill order against drug suspects.
“Yes, your honor,” De la Rosa responded, but clarified: “Kung lumaban at armado at nanganganib ang buhay mo, you have to defend yourself.” (If they fight, are armed and your life is threatened.)
“Walang shoot to kill. There’s no such animal in the PNP manual. Am I correct?” said the senator.
The police chief answered: “Rhetoric lang po ‘yun, your honor, para takutin ang mamasasamang tao.” (That’s only rhetoric, your honor, to scare bad people.)
Responding to Escudero’s question about erring lawmen, De la Rosa assured the senator that the PNP would not tolerate scalawags involved in illegal drugs./rga