PNP chief: Forgive us, but killings in drug war will continue
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has an unusual Christmas wish: He said he wants the public to pray for forgiveness for him and the country’s policemen for the killings in the administration’s war on drugs.
Speaking to police officers and their family members, Dela Rosa asked the public to pray for the 160,000-member police force so God would forgive them for killing people as President Duterte’s administration wages war against drugs.
“I would like to ask everyone, ang hinihingi kong gift sa iyo ay pagdasal niyo kami, ang inyong mahal sa buhay, ang inyong kapulisan, na sana patawarin kami ni Lord dahil dito sa mga namamatay sa war on drugs,” Dela Rosa said during the opening of PNP’s Christmas party for Camp Crame-based officers and their family on Monday.
(The gift I’m asking for is that you pray for us, for your loved ones, the police force, that the Lord forgive us for those who were killed in the war on drugs)
Since the firebrand President took office in June, the police have tallied nearly 6,000 people killed, including those killed in police operations and shot vigilante-style, when Duterte launched his war against illegal drugs.
“Hindi namin inaamin na sa amin ‘yung (mysterious killings). Trabaho namin ‘yon but because namamatay sila as a consequence sa aming war on drugs, either sinakyan, sumabay sa aming drug war, but still buhay pa rin ‘yon, namatay pa rin ‘yon,” he said.
(We’re not saying that those mysterious killings are ours. It’s our job but they were killed as a consequence of our war on drugs, either they rode on or went along at the same time with our drug war, but that’s still someone’s life, they were still killed.)
Dela Rosa stressed that President Duterte does not also want people in his country dying. But since he “loves peace-loving Filipinos so much,” he had to kill suspected drug personalities and save the innocent people.
But in a press conference after the program, Dela Rosa reiterated that the police, despite a slew of criticisms over the rising number of extrajudicial killings in the country, will not stop killing people in the drug war.
“Prangkahan tayo (Let’s be frank). While I am begging for forgiveness for what is happening right now, I am also begging your indulgence to please understand if the killings will continue, but we will not stop our war on drugs,” he said.
“Andyan na tayo. Kung merong mamamatay dyan, pasensya na po dahil hindi kami humihinto sa aming trabaho,” Dela Rosa added.
(We’re already here. If there are people killed, forgive us because we won’t stop doing our job.)
He then mentioned President Duterte’s instruction to the police that they would only stop the anti-drug operations if the drug problem stopped too.
“Hangga’t nandyan ‘yung problema (While the problem persist), we will continue confronting that problem. Hindi po mahihinto ito (This will not stop). We cannot guarantee you na walang mamamatay dahil in every action, there is a corresponding reaction,” he said.
Dela Rosa again clarified that out of the 2,886 deaths under investigation, only around 1,000 are drug-related.
“Meaning, maraming nakisakay sa ating war on drugs, maraming sumabay. ‘Yan dapat ang ma-address natin and we are working on that (This means that there are many who rode on our war on drugs; many went along at the same time. That’s what we need to address),” he said. JE/rga
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