Bato: Oplan Tokhang imperfect but not wrong
MANILA, Philippines – “It was not wrong but it was imperfect.”
This is what former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now senatorial candidate Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said Tuesday as he stood by the Duterte administration’s anti-drug program “Oplan Tokhang.”
He was asked in a televised interview whether the approach of Tokhang was wrong amid the thousands of deaths that resulted from the government’s war on drugs.
The former police chief said Tokhang was imperfect because there were policemen involved in illegal drugs.
“Imperfect in the sense na ‘yung ating kapulisan ay involved pa rin sa kalokohan. Hindi ko sinasabi na marami silang involved, kakaunti lang ito,” Dela Rosa said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
Dela Rosa admitted visiting Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of the Archdiocese of Caceres to ask for forgiveness for the deaths that happened under the government’s war on drugs.
The PNP said 5,176 had been killed in the war on drugs.
The drug suspects, whom police claim violently resisted arrest, were killed in the course of 119,841 anti-drug operations, while 170,689 drug personalities had been arrested from July 2016 to January 31, 2019.
The deaths represent 2.94 percent, or 3 out of every 100, of the total 175,865 drug personalities affected by the antidrug campaign. Meanwhile, the number of those arrested comprised 97.05 percent of the total.
Dela Rosa said he felt guilty for the killings which happened during his time as PNP chief, adding that to him, life is “very important” and “absolute.”
“Kahit gaano kasama yung tao na yan, they still deserve to live dahil tao yan, hindi dapat namatay yan. Ngayon, namatay sila ating war on drugs. Kargo de konsesya ko ‘yan. Ako’y nakokonsensya dahil nangyari yan during my time,” Dela Rosa said.
“Whether they were justifiably killed or whether they were ibang form ng pagkapatay, life is very important, life is absolute, life yan,” he added. /cbb
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