Palace: Tagging PNP as drug-related killers very ‘unfair, premature’
Automatically attributing the drug-related killings to the police is “premature” and “unfair,” Malacañang said on Saturday, barely a day after the Philippine National Police (PNP) ruled that the man who killed Michael Siaron–the main subject in a Pietà-like viral photo–was a member of a drug syndicate.
“The relentless attribution of such killings to police operations was both premature and unfair to law abiding enforcement officers who risk life and limb to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in our society,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Authorities on Friday said that Siaron, whose photo was compared to Michaelangelo’s 15th century sculpture “Pietà,” was killed by a certain Nesty Santiago, a member of a syndicate involved in robbery, carnapping, gun-for-hire, and illegal drugs trade.
Siaron, a pedicab driver, was slain and his photo with a weeping woman named Jennelyn Olaires cradling him became a symbol for the government’s brutal war on drugs.
Siaron’s killer, Santiago, was identified through a PNP ballistics test done on the recovered firearm. Investigators identified Santiago as among the motorcycle-riding men who shot Siaron in Pasay City in July 2016.
Abella said that Siaron’s case verifies “what government has said from the start of the campaign against illegal drugs: Many of these killings were perpetrated by those involved in drug operations as well; drug traffickers and pushers eliminating each other.”
“Government assures the public and the families of victims of deaths under investigation that authorities will pursue cases until the truly guilty are brought before the bar of justice,” he added.
Thousands have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte implemented his deadly campaign against illegal drugs last year, drawing widespread condemnation from the public and international community. /jpv
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