De Lima calls for Senate probe into bloody Tondo raid | Inquirer News

De Lima calls for Senate probe into bloody Tondo raid

By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 05:54 PM December 15, 2017

Leila De Lima

Sen. Leila De Lima
(File photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquier)

Detained Sen. Leila De Lima on Friday called for a Senate investigation on the bloody raid in Tondo, Manila last October, which she described as “another summary execution disguised as legitimate law enforcement” operation.

De Lima has filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 566 urging the appropriate Senate committee to look into a Reuters report that showed chilling security camera footages of a midday police operation in Barangay (village) 19 in Tondo, Manila last October 11.


The videos showed the bodies of the victims identified as Rolando Campo, 60; Sherwin Bitas, 34; and Ronnie Cerbito, 18, being dragged out of a shanty about 30 minutes after plainclothes anti-illegal drug operatives arrived in the area.


De Lima urged her colleagues in the Senate to investigate the “suspicious circumstances” that surround the incident.

“There is an imperative need to ensure that killings are seriously investigated, prosecuted and punished, especially by ensuring that victims, witnesses and victims’ families are not discouraged from coming forward,” De Lima said in a statement.

“It is also important that an investigation by an independent body is immediately and automatically launched every time there are serious injuries and casualties resulting from law enforcement operations, which body will automatically preserve the evidence, including eyewitness testimonies,” she added.

The footages obtained by Reuters show the police officers, led by Tondo Police Station Commander Santiago Pascual, clearing out the alley as they ordered people to leave the area where the bloody operation would eventually take place.

The video also shows a victim’s body falling off the ground before Pascual turned away the video that recorded the incident. The next scene shows the police officers loading Campo, Bitas, and Cerbito into pedicabs to rush them to the hospital.

An eyewitness also told Reuters that she witnessed the police detaining the unarmed men in the alley next to her house and asked for an ID of Bitas. After one was produced, a police officer allegedly shouted “Positive! Positive!” and the officers opened fired on Bitas.


“It’s disturbing that the same Station Commander, as reported, even had the temerity to go so far as defending the act of tampering with surveillance cameras as being done for a ‘valid security reason’ and to ensure the operation wasn’t compromised, which raises more questions about, if not outrightly invalidating, the claimed legitimacy of the operations,” De Lima said.

“It is even more disturbing considering that eyewitnesses and victims’ families are being discouraged from coming forward and pressing charges, being told by police officers that ‘it was useless to complain [because it’s] the government you will be fighting against,’ and that the police ‘are just following orders,’” she added.

De Lima aldo called on her Senate colleagues to urge the Philippine National Police (PNP) to “publicly condemn and censure” the acts of Pascual of trying to conceal incident of extra-judicial killing by “tampering with evidence.”

She likewise pointed out the need to discourage pronouncements by law enforcement agents that discredit eyewitness testimonies that allege abuses on the part of government authorities.

“This is to prevent a chilling effect on those who have information about such abuses,” she noted. /jpv


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Tondo drug raid probe: No witness, no case

TAGS: Crime, De Lima, EJKs, footage, PNP‎, Senate, Tondo raid

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