PNP chief: 628 cases filed over ‘mysterious’ killings
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has filed 628 criminal cases before the courts in connection with a spate of “mysterious” deaths or so-called summary killings since President Rodrigo Duterte waged his war on drugs.
During the appropriations committee hearing on the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) proposed P148.73-billion budget in 2017, PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa was asked by Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque about the latest death toll of drug suspects.
Dela Rosa said the police had tallied 929 people killed in antidrug operations as of Aug. 31.
Roque asked how many of these cases had been investigated.
Dela Rosa said the police had filed charges over so-called “mysterious deaths” or “deaths under investigation,” or the killings that occurred outside legitimate police antidrug operations.
Del Rosa said of the 1,507 reported deaths, the police had filed 628 cases in court.
He cited the killings of father and son Renato and Jaybee Bertes, who was arrested by the Pasay City police for drug possession. After the two allegedly tried to grab the police officer’s gun, they were shot inside the police station. The police officers face murder charges in connection with the incident.
“Wala kaming pinapabayaang death. Everytime, iniimbestigahan namin. We are constantly asking for update … Kaya nagkaroon ng 628 filed cases because of consistent follow up,” De la Rosa said.
“That seems to be very good. That would indicate that the PNP is discharging its functions to investigate and after the Department of Justice will prosecute and later the court will convict these killings,” Roque said.
Roque maintained that all deaths, whether outside or during legitimate police operations, should be investigated by the police.
“Lahat ng deaths should be considered as deaths. In my mind, we should be investigating these deaths, regardless of mysterious deaths or in relation to ongoing war against drugs,” Roque said.
De la Rosa also said there was a discrepancy between the death toll of media outlets and that of the police because the reckoning period for the media was as early as May or immediately after Duterte won the elections, while the police started tallying upon the President’s assumption of office on June 30./rga