Most drug war abuses by cops not supported by evidence, complaints — Eleazar
MANILA, Philippines — Most alleged drug war abuses are not supported by evidence or have prospered into a complaint, Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar said Wednesday as he countered questions over the number of cops charged due to deaths involving drug cases.
Eleazar insisted that reports of abuses in the drug operations conducted by the police are being investigated. However, he added that most of the alleged abuses do not have evidence to prove them while some aggrieved parties opted not to file a formal complaint.
“Ang nakikita natin ay sinasabi bakit kaunti lang ang napaparusahan, ay kasi ang imbestigasyon is based on evidence at napansin natin, ako observation ko, is maraming mga kaso tayo na wala namang ebidensya,” Eleazar said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“‘Yung iba nating kababayan ay they opted na hindi na lang mag-file ng kaso pero ilapit na lang sa media, Commission on Human Rights and even sa iba pang sectors ng ating government. But in he conduct of investigation in any investigating body, ay kailangan mayroon tayong basehan,” he added.
PNP records show that there were at least 5,655 police drug war operations that resulted in deaths. Critics have attributed the alleged abuses in the drug war operations to President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ pronouncements in relation to the drug campaign.
Eleazar, however, echoed the justification of other PNP chiefs before him — that Duterte‘s pronouncements were only in the context of self-defense.
“Ang sinabi ng ating pangulo is maging aggressive kami sa ating kampanya, pero hindi ibig sabihin nun na mag-abuso ka kasi any abuse na pwedeng gawin ay may corresponding investigation at that could be sanctioned,” Eleazar said.
“Kapag nag-violate ka dyan ay kakasuhan ka. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na sinabi ng Presidente e, ‘Tumalon ka dyan sa bangin,’ e tatalon na kami… Hindi naman kami mga walang isip na mga pulis,” he added.
Further, Eleazar said there is presumption of regularity in police operations that resulted in deaths, but these are “always open for investigation”.
PNP reported that a total of 293,841 drug suspects were arrested in 203,715 anti-illegal drug operations nationwide from July 2016 to May 2021.
A total of P59.93-billion worth of illegal drugs, including P49.31-billion worth of crystal meth or shabu, were confiscated in the said operations according to the PNP.
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