PNP corrects ‘kill list’ figures, but it’s not 7,000
The Philippine National Police on Tuesday clarified its own count on the number of deaths in the government’s war on drugs, but insisted that the official toll was still below the 7,000 figure liberally used by rights groups and the media.
PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said the 1,398 drug-related deaths they reported on Monday were blamed on vigilantes and did not include the 2,600 drug suspects slain in “actual police operations.”
“You shouldn’t add up the two,” Carlos told reporters. “There is no criminal intent (in the killing of drug suspects during police operations) because there is presumption of regularity in the policemen’s performance of their duty.”
“And even if you add the two numbers, it will not reach 7,000,” he insisted.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday presented the data to refute claims of critics that the antinarcotics drive in the last eight months had left more than 7,000 Filipino dead, many were categorized by rights groups as extrajudicial killings.
Death in numbers
Director Augusto Marquez Jr., head of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, said that, from July 1, 2016, to March 24, 2017, there were a total of 6,011 killings or “homicides” in the country.
Of this number, 1,398 were confirmed to be drug-related while 828 were not drug related. The rest—3,785 cases— were still under investigation, Marquez said.
However, the PNP on Jan. 31—or a day after President Duterte suspended the drug war—reported that 2,555 “drug personalities” were killed since the antidrug campaign started in July. Since the PNP resumed on March 6 the war against drugs, 60 more drug personalities were reported slain in police operations.
This would put the total number of deaths at 4,013 (1,398 confirmed drug-related homicide cases plus the 2,615 drug personalities killed during police operations as of March 26).
“The 1,300-plus drug-related cases (presented on Monday) are homicide cases that were once categorized as deaths under investigation. Someone committed the crime of killing another person and, in the course of the investigation, it turned out that the suspect or the victim or the motive itself was drug-related,” Carlos said.
“The 2,600 deaths during police operations were those suspects who were killed because they fought back or endangered the lives of the public or our policemen,” he added.
Carlos said there was no “criminal liability” in the killing of the drug suspects in police operations.
“(But) in the deaths under investigation, there is criminal intent to kill the victims. So, that is why we separated these two. These are homicide cases so we did not add them up,” Carlos explained.
Carlos said some of the homicide cases involved former policemen-turned-hired guns or “protectors” of drug syndicates who killed their own informants.
He said there was a 31-percent rise in the daily average of murder cases largely because the drug syndicates were cleaning up their ranks.
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