PNP parades ‘vigilantes’ who made cops look bad
The Philippine National Police on Thursday presented three men allegedly belonging to a group of “vigilantes” in Manila who were just “riding on our war on drugs” to help certain criminal gangs eliminate rivals.
“The arrest of these vigilantes is proof that it’s not the policemen who are involved in EJKs (extrajudicial killings),” PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
“They’re riding on our war on drugs, hoping that if they kill someone it will be the police who will be blamed,” Dela Rosa said of the three suspects. “The deed will be immediately blamed on the police but it’s very clear, they admitted it, it was they who did it.”
Along with National Capital Region Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde and Manila Police District director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, Dela Rosa presented Alfredo Alejan, 42; Manuel Murillo, 33; and Marco Morallos, 42. Reporters were not allowed to interview the suspects.
The PNP said the three were members of the “Confederate Sentinel Group Tondo 2” and were involved in the abduction and killing of 16-year-old Charlie Saladaga, a theft suspect whose corpse was found on Manila Bay, near Isla Puting Bato in Tondo.
Seven other members of the group being linked to the teenager’s killing remain at large. According to Dela Rosa, the Confederate has over 200 members and is led by Ricardo Villamonte.
The group is said to have recruited members from Tondo’s barangay peacekeeping teams, who eventually armed themselves to protect certain gangs.
The PNP presented Saladaga’s mother, who alleged that the suspects abducted her son on Jan. 1. “My daughter saw them take [Saladaga]. We were forced to leave our place because we are afraid. They pointed guns at us and threatened us,” she said.
Coronel expounded on the group’s operations: “In the past months we received reports that they are conducting summary killings of suspects in criminal activities, upon orders from their leader.
“Based on tactical interrogation, apparently they are targeting suspects from rival groups [who opposed those] they are protecting, and then of course they instill fear among residents of Tondo, [convincing them] that there are groups engaged in EJKs.”
“They are a civilian volunteer organization acting as muscle or guns-for-hire of these criminal groups which they are in conspiracy with. These groups are engaged not just in the drug trade, but also robbery-holdup, extortion and payola collection,” Coronel added.
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