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Palace: Reuters report foul; PNP: It’s unfair

Ronald dela Rosa

Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa (File photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Malacañang on Wednesday described as “foul” a detailed Reuters report on the operations of a narcotics unit of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), but declined to comment on the international news agency’s findings.

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa described as “unfair” and “incredible” claims of a kill order that had left a large number of deaths in President Duterte’s war on drugs.

Dela Rosa was commenting on a Reuters report on the killings carried out by the so-called Davao Boys in the narcotics unit of QCPD Station 6.

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Not given enough time

“That was a foul report,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, adding that Malacañang was not given enough time to comment on the allegations before the report was published.

The Reuters reporter, he said, “demanded” to have Malacañang’s side within the hour that a request for comment was made to him at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

“We said we couldn’t because of our briefing,” he said, referring to his regularly scheduled press briefing.

“So that story did not get our side. No comment to one-sided story,” he said.

Asked why he thought the report was one-sided when Reuters interviewed some of the Davao Boys, Roque again said the Palace was given only an hour on Tuesday to comment.

Visiting the wake in Pasig City for a police officer killed in a narcotics operation, President Duterte vowed again on Wednesday to press his war on drugs.

‘You will really die’

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“I’m here to show to the people that I am really angry at drugs, that if you do not stop, you will really die,” Mr. Duterte told reporters at the wake.

He insisted that “shabu” (crystal meth) users were the poor and told human rights defenders to shut up.

Mr. Duterte said he would step down if he failed to solve the country’s drug problem within a year.

“If I cannot do it, son of a bitch, I will resign. Remember that. One more year. Either I eradicate them all or they will kill me. They choose,” he said.

At PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Dela Rosa said death was unavoidable in the campaign to rid the Philippines of illegal drugs.

“If you hit the problem head on, you face the problem head on, there will be deaths. How many policemen have died? There are many who have died,” he said.

The PNP chief said he handpicked Supt. Lito Patay to head Station 6 precisely because of the drug problem in the area.

Worst drug problem

“I was the one who assigned Superintendent Patay there at Station 6 because in our assessment in the National Capital Region, the area of Station 6 has the worst problem on illegal drugs in the entire Metro Manila. The people themselves acknowledge that so I sent Superintendent Patay there,” Dela Rosa said.

How to deal with the problem from Station 6 was Patay’s call, he added.

Asked if there was an order to execute drug suspects, the PNP chief said: “Who would give such an order? These critics are really insisting that there is an order to kill. I have already lost all my hair because of the drug problem and I am going to create more problems?”

He added: “That is very unfair, the [claim that there is a] kill order.”

Dela Rosa insisted that he assigned Patay to Station 6 to deal with the drug problem in the area, “not to kill anyone.”

“If they (drug suspects) fought back, it’s not like a policeman would just allow himself to get killed. You fight because you are a policeman. You are the authority to arrest these people. If they resist and fight back you have to protect yourself,” he said.

‘Incredible story’

“Just because he is from Davao, stories are made up that he was assigned there (Station 6) to kill and kill on orders. Wow, that’s a very incredible story. Who made that up?” Dela Rosa said.

He said many drug users surrendered to police during Patay’s stint as Station 6 commander.

“I chose him (Patay) because I have full trust and confidence that he has the balls to address the problem. He will fight… I put him there because I know he can deliver,” Dela Rosa said, adding that Patay used to be his subordinate in Compostela Valley.

The PNP chief said Patay was reassigned to head the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) unit in Central Luzon to give him a chance to earn a promotion to senior superintendent.

“He has been in the service for a long time and he has to move to a position that calls for a promotion to senior superintendent,” Dela Rosa explained.

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TAGS: drug killings, Philippine news updates, President Duterte, Quezon City Police District, Reuters, war on drugs
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