War on drugs: PNP ‘ready to embrace any task given by Duterte’
The Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomed decision of President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to reinstate the police force as the lead implementer of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, its deputy spokesperson said Thursday.
“The PNP is ready to embrace any task given by our chief executive,” PNP deputy spokesperson Supt. Vimelee Madrid said in a news briefing.
However, when asked if the public should expect a less bloody crackdown in the conduct of the anti-drug campaign, Madrid said: “Yes, talaga namang iniiwasan natin yon. Kaya lang, sa simula nga, sinasabi nga ni chief PNP [Ronald dela Rosa], kung magiging at risk din naman ang buhay ng isang police officer, talagang we are to defend ourselves.”
(Yes, we really avoid it [human rights violations]. But, as said by PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa since the beginning, if our men’s lives will be at risk, we will need to defend ourselves.)
Duterte, in a speech before soldiers in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on Wednesday night, said he would eventually return to the PNP the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations in the country.
“I have to return that power to the police,” he said.
With the “lessons learned” in the first year of the deadly campaign, Madrid said the PNP would continue to cleanse its ranks in order to correctly implement the controversial campaign.
“We really mean business in the conduct of investigation whoever is involved in any cases so long as we can deliver and give justice to whom it is due,” she added.
The PNP-Internal Affairs Service on Thursday recommended the dismissal of 58 policemen involved in illicit activities such as kidnapping, robbery, and illegal drug activities.
Madrid also said the PNP is currently enhancing Oplan Double Barrel, the legality of which has been questioned by human rights lawyers and is the subject of ongoing oral arguments before the Supreme Court.
“Nandoon pa sa moment na ine-enhance pa ‘yon [Oplan Double Barrel], wala pang [final] talaga. Pero di ko muna sasabihin kung may bagong oplan na gagawin pero mayroon nang ginagawa para talagang mas matutukan at mas mapaayos [ang kampanya]” she noted.
(We’re in the moment of enhancing Oplan Double Barrel, but nothing is final yet. I cannot say yet if there is a new oplan being crafted but something is being done so we can improve the campaign.)
Duterte, in October, removed the PNP from the implementation of the deadly anti-drug campaign over criticisms of human rights violations. Data from the PNP show that about 6,140 suspected drug criminals have been killed from July 2016 to September 2017—3,850 of these are slain during drug operations while 2,290 are “deaths under investigation.” /je
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