CHR team now probing 3-year-old girl’s death in police anti-drug operation
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has already sent a team to investigate the death of a three-year-old girl caught in the crossfire during a police anti-drug operation in Rodriguez town, Rizal province.
In a statement on Thursday (July 4) CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said the commission condemns the death of Myka Ulpina, who was hit by a stray bullet on Sunday (July 29) during a drug bust at Barangay San Jose in Rodriguez.
“She would’ve turned four by the end of July, but Myka Ulpina’s life was cut short in the hands of those who swore to protect it,” said De Guia.
“The Commission on Human Rights condemns the death of another innocent life as a consequence of the government’s war against illegal drugs,” De Guia said.
“As there are disputes in the claims of both sides on what transpired that unfaithful day, the Commission is monitoring the case and already dispatched a team to investigate,” she added.
According to official statements by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the child was the daughter of a drug target in the area, identified as Renato Dolofrina. While officers were conducting the buy-bust operation, Dolofrina allegedly used his child as a human shield, to prevent officers from firing at him.
Dolofrina and his still unidentified male companion were killed instantly in a gunfight with police during the operation but Myka and another police officer were also hit and died at hospital later.
Myka’s mother, however, refused to accept that her child was used a shield by her father.
The CHR reminded law enforcers about the constitutional protection of a person’s right to life, especially that of a child in life-and-death situations.
“Minors caught in the crossfire of the government’s initiative in combatting illegal drugs in the country are simply not collateral damage,” De Guia said.
“They are victims. Their hopes and dreams are cut short once bullets enter their bodies,” De Guia said.
She said the CHR was asking the government to speed up the investigation and “allow the rule of law to prevail.”
PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde had ordered an investigation and dismissed at least 20 members of the Rodriguez police force.
The CHR reiterated that it was not opposed to President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs, but insisted that the campaign’s success should not be measured by body count.
“The Commission supports the end of illegal drugs in the country, but we continue to echo the sentiment that the end does not justify the means,” De Guia said.
“As such, the success of the government’s campaign to end illegal drugs should not get merit on the number of drug suspects killed, but rather on the multitude of lives changed,” De Guia added. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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