Lacson: Create task force to solve ‘deaths under investigation’
MANILA—Senator Panfilo Lacson has urged the Philippine National Police to create a separate task force to investigate more than 3,000 “deaths under investigation” (DUIs) recorded since July, calling it a “police problem” that has to be resolved just as the administration pursues its brutal drug war.
In a media forum Thursday, Lacson noted that 3,671 DUIs have been reported from the start of the Duterte administration in July until Dec. 12. This number is out of 6,000 deaths within the same time period, nearly half of which are those of drug suspects killed in anti-drug operations.
Lacson said only 785 of the DUIs, or 21.4 percent of the cases, have been resolved.
“I suggested to them that they should create a composite task force to address DUIs only,” Lacson told reporters, in reference to what he had relayed to police officers on Wednesday in an executive session on the slay of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
“It appears that the solution rate is only 21.4 percent, and I told them that’s too low for a murder solution rate,” he said.
Lacson, a former police chief, said police should further categorize the DUIs, including those considered vigilante slays and others that may still be drug-related.
The lawmaker, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, also called on law enforcers to take action instead of arguing that murders had also happened under previous administrations.
“They’re saying that this is no different from the situation in the previous administration. But the situation now is different,” said Lacson, noting President Duterte’s repeated pronouncements on killing crime suspects.
“Don’t argue with the me, don’t argue with the people, don’t argue with us that what’s happening now is the same under the previous administrations,” he said.
He said such argument’s “won’t fly” anymore.
“That’s not a good argument. You must be proactive, not just react when something has happened,” he said.
Lacson led an executive session with committee members, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and PNP officials on Wednesday to discuss the investigation into predawn killing of Espinosa on November 5 during a police operationat the Baybay City subprovincial jail, where he was detained.
During the closed-door meeting, said Lacson, the NBI submitted their full report, which affirmed his view that Espinosa’s slay was premeditated.
“The killing of Mayor Espinosa was really premeditated,” Lacson said.
He said it was “immaterial” to have to determine the motive, as the timeline showing clear premeditation, the bullet trajectory, and documentary evidence were enough to establish the murder angle. TVJ/rga