De Lima condemns alleged crossfire that killed 6-year-old boy
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition Senator Leila De Lima denounced on Wednesday the death of a six-year-old child killed in a supposed crossfire between a policeman and a drug suspect.
De Lima said the children should never pay the price for the government’s “fake war on drugs that targeted only the poor and defenseless.”
“Isa na namang inosenteng bata ang napatay at tuluyang pinagkaitan ng kinabukasan at pagkakataon na matupad ang mga pangarap sa buhay. Ang trahedyang sinapit ni Gian ay bahagi lamang ng hindi na mabilang na mga batang napaslang ng ganitong madugong insidente,” she said in a statement.
De Lima was referring to Gian Habal, a Grade 1 student hit by a stray bullet in a supposed shootout between Police Corporal Rocky Delos Reyes and a suspected drug personality on Sunday. Habal’s grandmother was also injured in the incident.
De Lima also reiterated her call for the Duterte administration to end its drug war “which continues to promote the culture of violence in the country and waste thousands of innocent victims.”
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde said the .45 caliber pistol of the police officer will undergo ballistic examination to confirm whether the bullet that killed Habal was fired from Delos Reyes’ firearm.
The result of the ballistic exam will be released on Thursday, said National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Guillermo Eleazar.
De Lima said the incident warrants an investigation to ensure that the policeman involved in the shootout adhered to the established rules of engagement to avoid unnecessary casualties during the operation.
“I have repeatedly said that the attempt to bring suspected offenders to justice should not be at the expense of precious human lives. A serious investigation is necessary to ensure justice and accountability for the victim and his family left behind,” she said.
“Aside from finding out whose bullet killed Gian, it is equally important to know if the operation was done recklessly. This should serve as a reminder to the entire police force to know the proper response in every life-threatening situation to avoid putting innocent lives at risk,” she added.
But Eleazar said there was no indication that there was a shootout as claimed by Delos Reyes.
Cases of murder, attempted murder and violation of the gun ban were also already filed against Delos Reyes on Tuesday before the Caloocan City Prosecutor’s Office.
The administration’s war on drugs has claimed thousands of lives in the last three years, ranging from small-time drug dealers to high profile drug bosses. /je
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