Bato slams media for ‘sensationalizing, misinterpreting’ killings
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has again castigated the media for “sensationalizing and misinterpreting” the number of deaths since President Duterte declared war against drugs.
After the weekly flag-raising ceremony on Monday, which was also attended by Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo who recently blamed the media for reporting on the drug killings, Dela Rosa told reporters at Camp Crame: “We’re going to have a press conference and this might be the longest so far. We want to clarify many things with you.”
The PNP chief then read his prepared statement. “After all (that) had been said about the much sensationalized and misinterpreted data of alleged 7,000 extrajudicial killings as insisted in reports by the local and foreign press, we are presenting to you today the latest numerical data with the accurate interpretation and analysis to once and for all clarify this issue,” Dela Rosa said during the press conference.
Dela Rosa said the PNP wants to disprove “persistent and irritating claims” by some sectors that the 7,000 killings are because of Duterte’s drug war.
“That’s what we want to disprove through our presentation. Hindi kami nagpapapogi. Hindi kami nagpo-propaganda. Hindi kami nagmi-mislead (We’re not trying to make ourselves look better. We’re not trying to spread propaganda. We’re not trying to mislead you). We want set the record straight,” he said.
The PNP wants to correct media reports that have been misleading local and international communities, said Dela Rosa.
After Dela Rosa’s statement, a PowerPoint presentation containing data on the killings was flashed as Police Director Augusto Marquez, chief of the PNP’s Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management, explained the crime statistics.
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Marquez first reiterated that there are no extrajudicial killings happening in the country.
Citing an administrative order former President Benigno Aquino III issued in 2012, Marquez stressed that EJKs basically refer to killing of political activists and media practitioners.
“A killing is only called ‘extrajudicial’ or ‘extralegal’ if it involves victims who are ‘affiliated with an organization—political, environmental, agrarian, labor or similar causes or if the victim is an advocate of named causes or a media personnel,’” he said.
Marquez then denied media reports that the 7,000 killings from July up to the present are all related to drugs.
Showing a detailed chart of the number of homicide cases, Marquez said that from the time “Oplan Double Barrel” was implemented on July 1 until March 24, 6,011 deaths were recorded.
The 6,011 deaths do not include the 2,615 suspected drug personalities in legitimate police operations.
But Marquez explained that of the 6,011, only 1,398 of the killings are drug-related while 828 are not related to drugs. The remaining 3,785 deaths are still being investigated.
He admitted that the PNP does not have enough investigators to resolve nearly 4,000 homicide cases immediately.
Dela Rosa, meanwhile, emphasized that these homicide cases being investigated “are not necessarily the direct result of our ongoing anti-drug campaign.”
“In the absence of any proper investigation, nobody can rightfully conclude these homicides to be extrajudicial,” the police chief said. JE/rga
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