Prelate fears more killings from war on drugs
An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has expressed concern that more blood might be spilled with the government’s resumption of its war against illegal drugs.
Noting that the killings had continued even without the Philippine National Police’s “Oplan Tokhang,” Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David was worried about the killings with the program’s relaunch.
“Tokhang was suspended but the killings of alleged drug suspects never really stopped. What to expect with its third relaunching? Your guess is as good as mine,” said David on his Facebook page.
The prelate, the vice president of the CBCP, made the remarks after the PNP said it would relaunch its house-to-house antinarcotics operation, or Oplan Tokhang, this month.
The PNP maintained that the third iteration of the controversial operation would be done in the true spirit of Oplan Tokhang, or to knock and plead on the houses of drug suspects for them to surrender.
David, whose diocese has one of the highest number of drug killings in Metro Manila, said his diocese did not feel or experience the suspension of Oplan Tokhang in the past months.
He noted that 20 people were killed within the Diocese of Caloocan since October last year.
“The killings by the ‘bonnet gangs’ never really stopped after Oplan Tokhang was suspended the second time on Oct. 12, 2017,” David said.
The prelate also demanded for an update on the cases of thousands of victims of extra-judicial killings during the first two editions of the Oplan Tokhang.
David pointed out that the lack of credible findings on the spate of extrajudicial killings would only make the third iteration of Oplan Tokhang a cause of concern.
“How many of the 4,000 killed in ‘legitimate police operations’ during the first two Tokhangs really ‘fought back’ as claimed by the police? Have they found out?” the bishop asked.
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