Karapatan slams Bato’s ‘disgraceful’ refusal to release drug war data
The refusal of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to release information on the government’s drug war is a “disgraceful attempt to escape accountability,” according to human rights group Karapatan.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on Wednesday slammed Dela Rosa’s explanation to the Supreme Court (SC) that releasing the drug war information could endanger the lives of police officers and their families.
“PNP Chief Ronaldo ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa’s refusal to release information on police operations regarding the drug war campaign is a disgraceful attempt to escape accountability, not that one can expect integrity from the Philippine National Police anyway,” Palabay said in a statement.
“Releasing information on the drug war would indeed endanger cops, in the sense that they will be legally prosecuted and made accountable for their murder spree in urban poor communities,” she said.
Dela Rosa earlier appealed to the SC to reconsider its order for him to provide full documentation of more than 3,000 documented deaths in the drug war, citing sensitivity and national security.
“Once you give it (data), anybody can access the information,” Dela Rosa said in a press conference on Monday. “What a wretched lot the police would be who are just working and putting their lives in danger.”
However, contrary to the PNP’s data, Palabay claimed that estimates of the death toll could be as high as 12,000, citing “media and human rights groups.”
“Hiding behind the ambiguous and arbitrary keyword of ‘national security,’ police impunity has been blatantly tolerated by the Duterte regime,” Palabay said.
“Despite the admission of police abuses by no less than the institution’s chief, the PNP still insists on what it calls ‘internal cleansing,’ shielding cops from the full force of the law,” she said.
Palabay said the PNP has been “among the main instruments of repression and abuses” despite its mandate to serve and protect.
“The basic and simple fact of the matter is that releasing this information will jumpstart the independent investigation on the PNP’s conduct in the war on drugs,” Palabay said.
“Clearly, however steadfast the PNP may be in claiming that the 3,000 deaths were all cases of ‘self-defense,’ closer scrutiny may and will reveal deliberate rights abuses done at the expense of the poor’s right to due process,” the Karapatan secretary general added. /je
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.