Clearing of cops accused of killing drug suspects shows PNP’s fair treatment – Eleazar
MANILA, Philippines — The clearing of police officers accused of killing a minor and his adult companion during a drug bust in Laguna shows the fair treatment of cases by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the PNP chief, said in a statement issued on Monday.
“Since I became your CPNP [Chief PNP] I made a promise that I would be fair in handling all cases involving our personnel. The IAS investigation of this case is but proof of this commitment,” Eleazar said.
He continued in Filipino, saying: “We acted quickly on the abuses of some in our ranks, but we also assumed the protection of so many police officers in our ranks who are only doing their sworn duty to serve and protect our countrymen, especially against the threat of illegal drugs.”
Eleazar was referring to an anti-drug operation conducted by Laguna police officers last June in Biñan in which a minor, 16-year-old Jhondy Maglinte, and his adult companion, Antonio Dalit, were killed when Maglinte allegedly shot it out with the officers.
But the family of the suspects accused 10 officers of summarily executing them. Witnesses also said that Maglinte was only killed as he witnessed police officers shooting Dalit.
The claims prompted Eleazar to put the 10 officers under restrictive custody while the case was under investigation by the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the PNP.
On Monday, the PNP released a statement saying that the IAS had cleared the officers.
“With the release of the investigation [results] of the IAS, it was again proved that there is no truth to the accusations that the PNP had drug-related operations tainted by abuse as some would like to make it appear,” Eleazar said.
The drug war, a primary program of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, has been placed under close scrutiny due to widespread allegations of abuse by police officers, including cases of supposed extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
The issue of EJKs has been a major rallying point for complainants who filed cases against Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly committing crimes against humanity.
But Duterte and various administration officials insist that no EJK has happened during legitimate police operations.
As of now, there is only one EJK case in the drug war in which the police officers involved were convicted of murder. This is the case of Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old student whom a Caloocan court ruled had been summarily executed despite surrendering to police officers and was not even the target of the operation.
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