Davao Boys’ antinarcotics operations legitimate, says QC police chief
The Quezon City Police District head on Thursday said he stood by the “presumption of regularity” of the deadly antidrug operations of the “Davao Boys,” a squad of police officers from Davao City who had been transferred to the QCPD Station 6 to carry out President Duterte’s war on drugs.
A Reuters special report published on Wednesday said the “secretive police squad” carried out most of the 108 killings attributed to Station 6 officers from July 2016 through June 2017.
Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, QCPD director, stressed that unless there were complaints, the antidrug operations would be treated as legitimate.
“If there are allegations in previous cases, then they are free to file complaints,” Eleazar said in an interview with the Inquirer.
“We have the presumption of regularity in our work, unless they can prove that something else took place,” he added. “The police … [have] to be accountable for what [they have] done.”
Located just across the House of Representatives, Station 6 covers the villages of Commonwealth, Payatas, Batasan Hills, Holy Spirit and Old Balara.
Save for pockets of wealth in gated villages, the area is a slum community where, according to Eleazar, crime and illegal drugs abound.
The Davao Boys, with at least 10 members, was previously headed by Supt. Lito Patay, who was transferred from Davao City to Quezon City just weeks after President Duterte launched his brutal war on drugs.
Eleazar, however, denied knowledge of the group’s supposed roots in Davao City, Mr. Duterte’s hometown.
“[In] the Philippine National Police, you can be assigned anywhere, and it would be the PNP’s discretion where you would be assigned,” Eleazar said, adding that he did not know the squad members personally.
“I have 5,000 personnel [in] the QCPD, and the station commander has the responsibility where to assign his officers,” he said, adding he was also not certain whether the officers from Davao were assigned to Station 6’s narcotics unit.
In August, Patay was promoted to head the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) unit in Pampanga province.
Eleazar confirmed that the members of the Davao Boys named in the Reuters report had also been transferred out of Station 6.
“There were orders to transfer them to the CIDG as well,” he said, adding that the men were moved out at different times.
Eleazar stressed that police officers shot suspects only in self-defense.
A recent ruling by a Quezon City court on a drug-raid case, however, showed otherwise.
In November, Judge Analie Oga-Brual of Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 41 acquitted Harold Arevalo, whom the police accused of shooting at officers during a supposed drug operation in August 2016.
Five other men were killed in the raid.
Eleazar said the ruling did not mean that Arevalo did not actually fire at the officers.
“It does not mean that he did not do it, only that it was not proven in court,” he added.
Eleazar said the QCPD was open to any investigation.
Amid the controversies surrounding the QCPD, Eleazar pointed out a 38-percent drop in index crimes in the city this year.
Murder rates, however, remain high, rising to 80 percent compared to last year.
QCPD data showed 549 deaths under investigation from July 2016 to October 2017.
More than 330 were recorded at Station 6, with 128 considered related to illegal drugs.
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