MANILA – Malacañang said Friday it shares the concerns raised by senators on the cases of drug-related deaths and welcomes the investigations being conducted by the Senate on erring policemen.
“The Executive shares the expressed concern of the Senate on the recent spate of drug-related deaths and similarly condemns extrajudicial killings (EJKs),” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“But we need to clarify again that EJKs are not State-sanctioned. There are no State-sponsored killings in the Philippines, a conclusion made by the Senate committees on justice and human rights, and on public order and illegal drugs, which previously conducted investigations on EJKs,” he stressed.
Abella also emphasized that while President Rodrigo Duterte is tough on illegal drugs, he would not tolerate erring policemen who commit illegal acts.
“While the President is harsh against those involved in illegal drugs, he is equally appalled by misdemeanors of police scalawags. The President remains firm on the need to cleanse the police of its misfits, especially those responsible for gross violation,” he said.
“We thus welcome the Senate’s investigations and inquiries on erring police personnel as a manifestation of a freely functioning and democratic State mechanism,” he added.
But even as independent investigations are welcome, Abella said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is not remiss on its duties to investigate alleged claims of violations against its personnel.
He pointed out that more than 1,900 drug-related investigations of allegations against law enforcement officials have been carried out between July 1, 2016 and June 15, 2017 by the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS).
“Of this total, 1,045 cases have moved to the administrative proceedings stage and 159 law enforcement officials face dismissal from service, with many others undergoing pre-charge investigations or summary hearings,” he said.
“These erring persons in uniform do not have a place in a State organization, which is a human rights duty-bearer, with a primary role to protect the right to life, liberty, and property of the people by way of an effective anti-illegal drug campaign,” Abella said.
In the meantime, the Palace official slammed critics of the government’s war on drugs for focusing only on alleged instances of violations, while dismissing at the same time the huge success of police anti-drug operations.
“There is relentless effort on the part of the Philippine National Police to carry out their operations properly and within legal processes,” Abella said.
“The same police operations, heavily criticized by some quarters, saw the voluntary surrender of 1,308,078 drug users; the arrest of 107,156 drug personalities; the rescue of 578 minors; and the seizure of 2,465.65 kilos of shabu worth PHP12.7 billion as of August 29, 2017 – facts overlooked by our critics,” he said.