Posts Tagged ‘Philippine National Police’

Philippines: Highlights from the Supreme Court oral arguments on the drug war

December 7, 2017
One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court held three days of hearings, through oral arguments, on the petitions challenging the constitutionality of the drug war on November 21 and 28, and on December 4.

Two groups of petitioners are seeking a protection order from the high court over the ruthless killings of their loved ones and of people in their community.

Aside from the writ of amparo against the police, petitioners are also asking for the issuance of a temporary restraining order on the PNP’s drug war operations.

Petitioners:

Aileen Almora asked the SC to stop extrajudicial killings that critics attribute to the nationwide war on drugs. Almora’s brother, Ryan Dave, was killed in an anti-dug operation.

Rowena Appari’s son was killed in a home invasion. Jefferson Soriano was shot several times, but survived.

They were represented by lawyer Chel Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group.

A second petition was filed by members of a religious order in San Andres Bukid, Manila, where 38 petitioners claim the existence of “systemic violence”.

They were represented by Center for International Law.

Lawyer Rommel Butuyan faced the high court for the oral arguments.

Respondents:

The respondents in the petition are:

  • Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Chief of the Philippine National Police
  • Undersecretary Eduardo Año of the Department of Interior and Local Government
  • Director General Aaron Aquino of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Superintendent Joel Coronel, chief of the Manila Police District
  • Other members of the PNP

Solicitor General Jose Calida represented the petitioners.

In his comment filed before the SC began oral arguments, the government’s chief legal counsel said that the drug war is being “emasculated and undermined” by petitions of the families who lost their loved ones in the violent police operations.

He reiterated this statement before the high court and claimed the petitions are destabilization acts against the Duterte administration.

The court summoned Dela Rosa, Aquino, and Undersecretary Catalino Uy, as well as the other members of the police force and PDEA for the second day of the oral arguments

Central to the petitions are PNP CMC 2016-16 for the Project Double Barrel and the DILG memorandum circular 2017-112 on Masa Masid.

Here are some of the issues debated by the justices, petitioners and respondents:

Barangay list

Under the DILG “Masa Masid,” a list of suspected drug users and sellers is drawn up from names put in a community drop box.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio raised: “The barangay chair can include his political enemies there?”

Butuyan said yes, since the list is submitted in confidence. He added that the residents would not know, except for some instances, about their names being included in the list.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno also quizzed Calida on the list.

She asked: “Is the list subject to habeas data petition? If a person feels he is on the list, can he file a habeas data petition?”

The writ of habeas data is a remedy for any individual “whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act of any official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information.”

Calida said that the government “will invoke national security,” adding “there are certain matters like top secrets that cannot be divulged.”

What does ‘neutralize’ in the memorandum mean?

The Execution section of the PNP memo states: “The PNP intends to equally address illegal drug problems in the barangays and at the same time pursue the neutralization of illegal drug personalities.”

Diokno raised before the justices: “What we question is why they have to add the word negation… which has no counterpart in law.”

“By its language, it can be construed by the officers on the ground to authorize killing that is not allowed in our system,” Diokno also said.

Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza said: “You have a situation where a government circular contains vague terms which can be taken to mean as license to kill, and you are saying that is unconstitutional, yes?”
Diokno answered in affirmative.

Dela Rosa, during the third hearing of the consolidated petitions, told justices that he has never ordered his officers to kill anyone.

Verbal orders?

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio started his interpellation of Calida on the third day of the hearing, remarking on several pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte telling the police to go ahead and kill drugs suspects. The justice asked if these orders, delivered in Duterte’s trademark freestyle speeches, are guidance for the police.

Calida replied that he has no personal knowledge of the pronouncements and is not in place to answer the question.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, while grilling Calida, pointed out that the the memorandum explicitly states that it emanated from a verbal order from Duterte.

Listed as the first item of reference in the PNP memorandum is: “Pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte to get rid of illegal drugs during the first six months of his term.”

Street peddlers vs. drug lord

Section 3 of the PNP memorandum circular on Oplan Double Barrel explicitly states that there are three transnational drug organizations operating in the Philippines.

“Chinese or Filipino-Chinese drug syndicates dominate the drug market in the country,” the PNP memorandum stated. It added that these Chinese syndicates “facilitate production, manufacturing and bulk smuggling of dangerous drugs in the country.”

Carpio, in his interpellation of Calida, asked if there have been Chinese or Filipino Chinese drug lords neutralized by the police since July 1, 2016.

Calida said 418 Chinese suspects have been arrested, stressing none have been killed.

Violations of rights

PNP’s Operation Double Barrel pertains to two projects: Oplan Tokhang (house-to-house visitation) and Project High-Value Targets.

The justices asked the petitioners if the execution of the two orders violates the Bill of Rights.

Carpio asked Diokno: “When the police conduct case build up just because you refuse entry, that violates the right to privacy because you may refuse entry, correct?”

Diokno answered in the affirmative.

Leonen, meanwhile stated that the Oplan Tokhang setup violates the right against self-incrimination, right to custodial interrogation, and the right to domicile.

He also said that if threats are given to those who refuse entry to their residence, it may be violation of the anti-torture law.

Calida, however, stressed that the police, during visitation, only stay at the gates.

He added that if the residents refuse entry, the police will move to the next door.

Death investigation

Carpio ordered the solicitor general to submit the records of the 3,800 “deaths under investigation” that the police are looking into.

He asked the following information to be submitted with the memoranda:

  • gender, ages of the killed
  • place and time of operations
  • name of police leader and members who participated
  • pre-operations plan
  • post-operation report
  • whether search warrants or arrest warrants were issued
  • names of the representatives issued

The Court allowed the parties to submit their respective memoranda 60 days from December 5, the last day of the hearings.

After the parties submit their memoranda, the case is deemed submitted for decision.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/12/07/1766173/highlights-supreme-court-oral-arguments-drug-war

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Philippine Judge Carpio asks: Were there Chinese drug lords killed by the Philippine National Police?

December 5, 2017
Senior Associate Justice Antoniol Carpio was the first to interpellate Solicitor General Jose Calida who is defending President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs before the high court. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio asked Solicitor General Jose Calida on the number of Chinese or Filipino-Chinese drug lords killed by the PNP since the start of the drug war.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday resumed its hearing via oral arguments on the consolidated petitions challenging the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Carpio was the first to interpellate Calida who is representing government officials who were respondents in the petitions.

Carpio highlighted Section 3 of the PNP memorandum circular on Oplan Double Barrel that explicitly states that there are three transnational drug organizations operating in the Philippines.

“Chinese or Filipino-Chinese drug syndicates dominate the drug market in the country,” the PNP memorandum stated. It added that these Chinese syndicates “facilitate production, manufacturing and bulk smuggling of dangerous drugs in the country.”

Carpio asked Calida: “How many Chinese or Filipino-Chinese drug lords have been neutralized by the PNP since July 1, 2016?”

Calida replied: “Based on statistics, there were 418 Chinese who were arrested.”

The government’s chief counsel stressed that they were “not killed, but arrested.”

Calida added that they still could not determine what the exact role of the more than 400 Chinese arrested by the police was—whether they were users, peddlers or manufacturers.

The senior justice further grilled Calida: “Can you explain why PNP, in this circular, is concentrating on street-level operations and is practically ignoring the big time drug lords?”

Carpio stressed: “How come the flagship project of the president is concentrated in going after small-time peddlers? Why not big-time drug lords?”

The second group of petitioners, represented by the Center for International Law, are kin of the victims of the drug war in San Andres Bukid, Manila. They claim that there is “systematic violence perpetrated by or wrought in conspiracy with the respondents through the members of the Manila Police District Station 6” in the San Andres Bukid district of Manila.

READ: SWS: 60% believe only poor killed in drug war

But Calida said Duterte’s instruction was to go after all drug users, sellers and manufacturers. He added: “The big-time Chinese drug lords are outside our jurisdiction. They are in China.”

Carpio then asked Calida to include data on the more than 3,800 killed in the drug operations of the police in his memorandum.

The justice wants the following information:

  • gender, ages of the killed
  • place and time of operations
  • name of police leader and members who participated
  • pre-operations plan
  • post-operation report
  • whether search warrants or arrest warrants were issued
  • names of the representatives issued

“You must know them because you are investigating them,” Carpio pointed out.

This is the first time that Duterte’s bloody drug war was brought to the high court.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/12/05/1765536/carpio-asks-were-there-chinese-drug-lords-killed-pnp

Philippines: Police can now get get human rights advisories and policies on their smartphones — We could not find the section for executions…

December 4, 2017
HRAO director Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo yesterday said they would craft a memorandum for PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa’s approval, mandating all police personnel to have the app downloaded on their smartphones. File

MANILA, Philippines — The Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) wants the mobile application “Know Your Rights” to be mandatory for every police officer.

HRAO director Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo yesterday said they would craft a memorandum for PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa’s approval, mandating all police personnel to have the app downloaded on their smartphones.

“We will seek the approval of the PNP chief for the app to be mandatorily downloaded,” Siervo told a press conference at Camp Crame.

The HRAO yesterday launched the app, which can be downloaded for free by android device users from Google Play Store.

The launch coincided with this year’s celebration of the National Human Rights Consciousness Week with the theme “Stand Up for Someone’s Right Today.”

For policemen with old phones, Siervo said they should buy smartphones so that they can download the app as the PNP is doing away with handbooks which are more expensive.

He said a smartphone can now be brought for P3,000 to P4,000.

“It’s already the individual responsibility of a law enforcer to secure the tools so that they can download this app,” Siervo said.

“We cannot provide everything for them.”

Smartphone users can obtain human rights advisories and policies which the PNP crafted, including the contents of the “Miranda Rights” which Siervo said is important when law enforcers arrest suspected criminals.

The Miranda warning is available in other languages of countries who have citizens in the Philippines like Japan and China.

This is to avoid the dismissal of cases by “technicality” when a suspect claims he was not informed about his rights under the law.

“In order to do away with the cases dismissed because of technicalities, we are providing them with this tool,” Siervo said.

The app also has sections for rights of persons arrested, detained or under custodial investigation as well as a feedback mechanism where the public can complain about abuses by policemen.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/12/05/1765470/cops-have-rights-booklet-cell-phones

Related:

Image result for duterte, dela rosa, together, photos

President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa. PhilStar photo

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
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Philippines: Communist rebels kill local official and a policeman

December 3, 2017
Luis was taking a stroll in his garden when New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, armed with M16 rifles and clad in camouflage uniforms, opened fire at close range. AP/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels stepped up their offensive against the government, killing a local official and a policeman in separate attacks in Cagayan and Camarines Norte yesterday.

Police said Baggao town Councilor Angelo Luis died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds.

Luis was taking a stroll in his garden when New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, armed with M16 rifles and clad in camouflage uniforms, opened fire at close range.

Cagayan provincial police director Senior Supt. Warren Tolito said at least 20 rebels stormed the house and killed Luis before fleeing.

NPA rebels also attacked and killed a policeman and wounded six others in an ambush in Labo, Camarines Norte.

PO2 Richard Abad of the Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) died on the spot while six of his colleagues were wounded during the attack in Sitio Binuang, Barangay Daguit.

Initial reports identified the wounded policemen as PO2s Ronald Gutierrez, Erickson de Vera, PO1s Jeffrey Tarrobago, Pedro Valeros, Romar Umandap and Johnson Espana.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Cerilo Trilles Jr. said nine policemen were on two patrol vehicles on their way back to the provincial headquarters in Daet when the rebels waylaid them.

The policemen engaged the rebels in a firefight until reinforcements from the provincial police and military arrived.

The rebels fled the scene with no immediate reports if they also suffered casualties.

The police and military have launched pursuit operations against the rebels.

The NPA’s Henry Abraham East Cagayan Command owned up to the killing of Luis, accusing the victim of working undercover for the military.

Luis has been critical of the NPA’s extortion against local businessmen, traders and contractors in the province, police said.

Tolito said the rebels are attacking the construction sites in the province and burning heavy equipment used for the construction of the road going to Baggao and other government projects.

“This is the very advocacy Luis is espousing – a clean and good government for the people, that cost his life. Let us not waste it,” Tolito said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa slammed the NPA for the treacherous attacks.

Dela Rosa said they expected the NPA to resort to dirty warfare.

“They (NPA) waited for the policemen. That’s deceit,” he said.

Dela Rosa they would have wanted to avoid casualties in armed conflicts with the communist rebels.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That’s part of the game,” he said.

The communists threatened to wage “more frequent and more intensified attacks” against the government once President Duterte formally tags the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the NPA as terrorist groups.

Duterte has ordered security forces to shoot communist rebels bearing firearms as he revealed an executive order is being prepared to declare the NPA as a terrorist group.

Duterte also threatened to tag all “legal fronts” of the CPP-NPA as criminals and have them arrested for conspiracy.

Duterte has cancelled all future peace talks with the communist rebels, blaming the insurgents for deadly attacks against soldiers and police while the National Democratic Front (NDF), the umbrella organization representing the CPP-NPA, is holding peace negotiations with the government.

The CPP, through the NPA, has been waging an insurgency since 1968.

Peace talks to end the conflict, which the military said has claimed 30,000 lives, have been conducted on and off for three decades.

They were revived last year after Duterte was elected president, with Norway and the Netherlands hosting the negotiations.

Duterte had shelved a round of negotiations in May and informal talks in July this year, citing treacherous NPA attacks on government forces. – Celso Amo, Victor Martin, Raymund Catindig, Cet Dematera

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/12/03/1764819/npas-kill-councilor-cop-new-attacks

The Philippines: when the police kill children

December 2, 2017

By Ted Regencia

Al Jazeera

One news report says death toll in the war on drugs could be as high as 14,000 [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

One news report says death toll in the war on drugs could be as high as 14,000 [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

MORE ON PHILIPPINES

Manila, Philippines – His parents named him Reynaldo de Guzman, but everyone knew him as Kulot (Curly) on account of his hair.

Kulot grew up in Anak Pawis (Child of Sweat), a district by the banks of Manila’s largest floodway.

Here, homes made of cardboard and bamboo vie for space with partially constructed concrete apartments.

During the rainy season, the debris-filled floodway overflows, leaving the neighbourhood’s houses under water.

But just a drizzle is enough to stir the stench from the nearby sewers.

Kulot lived with his parents and two of his four siblings in a one-room home where tattered tarp and chicken wire covered the only window.

On school days, he and his younger brother would rise before the sun to begin their two-kilometre walk to school, a place where classmates often teased him for being older and bigger than them and where the brothers rarely had money for lunch.

After school, Kulot would earn less than a cent and a free meal for hauling buckets of fish for sale around the neighbourhood.

On the weekends, he mixed cement or loaded sand and gravel at nearby building sites, handing over almost all his earnings to his mother.

Neighbours remember him as everyone’s favourite errand boy.

Then, in mid-August, Kulot went missing. He was 14 years old.

WATCH: Another child dies in Duterte’s war on drugs

Eighteen days later, his body was found 100km from his home, in a creek called Kinamatayang Kabayo (A Horse’s Deathplace).

His face was wrapped in plastic and bound with tape.

Police say his body bore signs of torture and at least 26 stab wounds, many inflicted after he died, some so deep they pierced his heart and lungs.

At the time of his death, the Philippines was already reeling from the murders of several teenagers suspected to have been killed as part of the government’s war on drugs.

According to a Global Post report, as many as 14,000 people may have been killed as part of President Rodrigo Duterte‘s drug war since he took office in 2016.

The Duterte administration has disputed these numbers, claiming that 3,451 “drug personalities” were killed during police operations from June 30, 2016, to July 26, 2017.

It describes more than 2,000 other cases as drug-related homicides by unknown assailants, while at least 8,200 other killings remain “under investigation”.

Of that number, dozens are believed to be teenagers or children.

Human rights organisations, activists and opposition politicians say Duterte has given the police a free pass to sidestep the law and carry out killings without fear of prosecution – allegations his administration and the country’s police force have repeatedly denied.

Eighteen days after he went missing, Kulot’s body was found 100km north of Manila [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

One neighbourhood, two dead boys

Kulot’s relatives and neighbours insist he was not involved in drugs.

The news of his death dealt a second blow to a neighbourhood that was already in mourning.

The day before Kulot’s body was found, the community had buried 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, a friend of Kulot’s and the last person he was seen with.

The police say the honour student was killed in a shoot-out after he tried to rob a taxi driver. But his death was later classified as murder by government prosecutors.

Carl and Kulot went missing on the same mid-August night the police launched a major drug war operation across Manila and its suburbs. It left at least 80 people dead in the space of three days.

Relatives and neighbours say the two friends went out for midnight snacks, but never returned.

Carl Arnaiz, a 19-year-old honour student, was among the dozens of children and teenagers killed in Duterte’s drug war [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

At around the time Carl and Kulot disappeared, the attention of the country’s news media was on the death of another teenager, 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, who was killed during a drug raid in the Manila district of Caloocan.

A closed-circuit camera captured the moments before Kian’s death.

In the grainy video, Kian was shown being dragged by officers, contradicting a police report that claimed the Grade 11 student had tried to engage them in a gunfight.

Kian’s bullet-ridden body was later found in a pigsty. When forensic evidence revealed that he had been executed while on the ground, a nationwide outcry ensued.

Murder charges were filed against three police officers.

As the news of what had happened to Kian emerged, Carl’s family grew ever more frantic in their search for him.

They pleaded for help on social media and his mother, who was working as a housekeeper in Dubai, rushed home to join the search.

Ten days after he disappeared, his body was found in a morgue in Caloocan. He had five bullet wounds to his chest and stomach.

Questions began to circulate within the community and the media. How had his body ended up 20km away from his home, they asked. Were the Caloocan police involved?

When two versions of a police report emerged about the attempted robbery police allege Carl was involved in, they seemed to raise more questions than they answered.

After he went missing, Carl Arnaiz’s mother, Eva, returned from Dubai to join the search for her son [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

The taxi driver, Tomas Bagcal, who had been in hiding for 16 days, came forward to say the police had forced him to sign the reports.

He also said that, contrary to what was stated in them, Carl had used a knife, not a gun, during the attempted robbery, and that he wasn’t alone – Kulot was with him.

The police had apprehended Carl and Kulot, he said, and both were alive when they were taken to police headquarters in Caloocan. He had followed the police car to the station, he explained.

Bagcal later told a Senate hearing that after police interrogated Carl and Kulot at the station, the two boys were taken to an unlit area beside a Caloocan highway, where two police officers shot and killed Carl, who was handcuffed and kneeling on the ground – testimony that was corroborated by two other witnesses.

Forensic experts from the public prosecutor’s office concluded that Carl’s death was an “intentional killing”. Erwin Erfe, a spokesman for the office, told reporters that Carl was “handcuffed, beaten up, dragged and then shot to death”.

He was bruised, had two black eyes and marks from handcuffs on his wrists, Erfe added.

In a separate interview, Erfe told Manila-based news website Rappler that the gun and sachets of crystal meth and cannabis found next to Carl “could have been easily planted” and that the supposed crime scene, where Carl’s body was found, appeared staged.

Contrary to two differing police reports, prosecutors said Carl Arnaiz was “handcuffed, beaten up, dragged and then shot to death”[Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

A funeral

On a rainy Tuesday morning, more than 100 people gathered for Carl’s funeral.

After the mass, the priest, Norman Cordova Balboa, explained how seeing Carl’s body had reminded him of his own brother, who was killed by a soldier in 1994 when he was 14 years old.

His mother had died “with a broken heart”, he added, without ever getting justice for her son.

Outside the church, Carl’s former classmates at the state university shouted slogans against the war on drugs.

The following day, Carl’s grandmother, Norma Magat, struggled to reconcile what she knew of her grandson with the police allegations.

Slouching on a single bed in the corner of the family’s small living room, she pointed out bags of crisps, cans of sardines, packets of biscuits and bottles of shampoo arranged on a makeshift counter in one corner of the room, their prices listed in Carl’s neat handwriting beside his academic medals and certificates.

Carl had opened the small store, known locally as sari-sari (sundry), after he dropped out of university suffering from depression.

He did not want his family to have to depend solely on his mother’s remittances from Dubai, his grandmother explained, and dreamed of her being able to return.

When she did it was to search for her missing son.

Why would he need to sell such things if he was dealing drugs, his grandmother asked, perplexed.

University students protest against the country’s drug war during Carl’s funeral [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera

The body in the creek

The day after Carl’s burial, residents of Anak Pawis learned that Kulot’s body had been found.

A woman had discovered it floating in the creek in Nueva Ecija, 100km north of Manila, and alerted police.

The morgue contacted Queen Chellsy Magual, a neighbour of Kulot’s family who had posted her mobile number on Facebook during the search.

She couldn’t tell whether the disfigured boy in the grainy photos the morgue sent her was Kulot, so she showed his family.

Kulot’s parents rushed to the morgue in Nueva Ecija.

According to news reports, Kulot’s father, Eduardo, and his mother, Lina, identified their son from a birthmark on his leg.

But, unable to afford a coffin, they couldn’t immediately bring him back to Manila with them.

Kulot’s older brother, 17-year-old Edmundo, recalled seeing the pictures of his brother’s body and of refusing to believe it was him until he saw the remains for himself.

Where the sky weeps

Kulot’s body was found 100km north of Manila [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

So for the second time within a week, the village hall at Anak Pawis was turned into a funeral room.

On top of Kulot’s coffin were two pictures of him emblazoned with the word, “MISSING”.

The first came from his school ID, the second from the mobile phone of the neighbourhood fish vendor who Kulot would work for in the evenings.

His family had no other pictures of him.

Nearby were two of Kulot’s baseball caps, a bottle of his favourite energy drink and three chicks, based on the belief that the hatchlings would eat away at the murderer’s conscience and bring the family justice.

For six nights, Kulot’s brothers stayed up to watch over him, taking turns to nap on a piece of cardboard on the floor beside the coffin.

Outside, under a tarpaulin tent, neighbours played cards and drank coffee as they kept vigil.

The rain came and went, prompting one to declare “even the sky is weeping for Kulot” as others doubted that the fifth-grader known for working so hard would ever conspire to commit a crime.

Murders in Manila [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

‘Two systems of justice’

As outrage was brewing over Kulot’s death and that of other teenagers, the halls of the Philippine Congress were abuzz over allegations linking President Duterte’s son, 42-year-old Paolo, to the attempted smuggling of $125m worth of drugs from China.

Antonio Trillanes, an opposition senator, accused the president’s son of being a member of a Chinese criminal syndicate.

Paolo, vice mayor of the family’s political heartland Davao City has denounced the allegations as “baseless”.

Critics said the drug-smuggling investigation showed there are separate justice systems for the rich and the poor.

WATCH: Duterte’s son questioned over illegal drug smuggling

On the day before Kulot’s funeral, however, tensions erupted at the wake when authorities tried to reclaim his body for further “evaluation”.

Police claimed the DNA test conducted on Kulot and his parents did not match.

Already in despair over his son’s death, Kulot’s father, Eduardo Sr lashed out at the police officers, telling them to back off, saying no one could take away his son from him.

Eduardo Sr’s drooping eyes could not even conceal his anger, according to video clips posted on news sites.

He insisted the burial will proceed the next day.

The public attorney representing the family also fumed, telling reporters the DNA testing the police conducted was not even authorised.

Persida Acosta said it is standard operating procedure for a lawyer to be present if DNA testing is administered.

No other family came forward to claim the body, but Kulot’s other family members and neighbours were still left confused at the police response, despite the insistence of Kulot’s parents that it is him.

Kulot’s eldest brother, 22-year old Royette, and his brother’s wife Grace began to doubt, telling Al Jazeera there was a mix-up, and that the boy inside the coffin was not Kulot, as the cadaver is “too short”.

Kulot’s hair colour also looked different, and he had an ear piercing, said another brother, Edgardo, 19, who had not seen him in months.

The three were huddled next to Kulot’s coffin as they chatted.

‘Our flesh and blood’

A  major Philippine newspaper criticised the police for denying Kulot’s family a “dignified burial” for their son [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

Amid a new cloud of doubt over Kulot’s identity, the morning of his burial came.

Security personnel briefly ushered his parents to the village hall to take another look at their son.

Authorities had taken custody of the parents without giving an explanation.

Kulot’s mother, Lina, bursts into muffled tears as she runs her right hand on the glass covering of Kulot’s coffin.

She wiped away her tears with her orange shawl.

She had been sleepless for days since her son had disappeared, and on the day of the funeral, she could hardly walk, and was helped by two elderly female community volunteers.

Unlike Carl’s funeral, there was no procession for Kulot.

Special police assigned to the family did not explain the haste, and avoided questions by the media.

After the family placed Kulot’s coffin in the hearse, the vehicle, the police car escorts, and the rest of the funeral convoy sped through traffic amid the blare of sirens.

Kulot’s parents and siblings were all placed in one police van. A convoy of reporters also followed hurriedly.

Heavily armed police officers kept close watch on Kulot’s parents.

Wearing identical white shirts and black pants, Kulot’s brothers concealed their faces in masks, as they try to avoid reporters’ cameras.

Kulot’s youngest brother and classmate, Eduardo Jr, covered his head with an oversized towel.

As the priest recited the final blessings, Eduardo Jr broke down in tears. Kulot’s brother Royette was carrying his baby, as he tried to console his wife Grace

One by one, family members and friends, as well as the officiating priest, sprinkled holy water on Kulot’s coffin. A gaggle of reporters surrounded the family.

Police claimed the DNA test conducted on Kulot and his parents didn’t match [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

As Kulot’s family bid their final goodbyes at the cemetery, police and five civilian volunteers of a pro-government anti-crime group, took aside again his parents, and handed them Kulot’s two photos earlier placed in the coffin.

Whispered remarks were exchanged, before Kulot’s father, Eduardo Sr, said in Filipino: “That’s it. Let’s go ahead.”

Family members then threw flower petals into Kulot’s grave, before a gravedigger covered it with cement.

There was no stone tablet to mark Kulot’s grave, so the grave-digger wrote in the fresh cement R DE GUZMAN.

Asked by broadcast reporters what he thought of the attempt by police to reclaim Kulot’s body, Eduardo Sr said: “That’s our son, and he is our flesh and blood. We made him. He is ours.”

Commenting on the police handling of Kulot’s case, the country’s leading newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, did not mince words in a comment: The country’s law enforcers “acted dishonourably” towards Kulot’s family, and “denied” the victim “a dignified burial by continuing to question his identity”.

Since Kulot’s burial, prosecutors have charged two police officers in Caloocan and the taxi driver for double murder.

Prosecutors said they included Bagcal, the taxi driver, as an accessory to the murder because of his conflicting testimonies to police, media and government attorneys.

Duterte has also ordered the removal and retraining of all Caloocan police force, and has decided to pull out the police as the main agency in the anti-drug war.

Two police officers and a taxi driver were charged with double murder over the deaths of Carl and Kulot [Ezra Acayan/Al Jazeera]

But the killings have not stopped.

In one incident in late October, a pregnant 15-year-old and her unborn baby were killed in what police said was an “armed encounter” that targeted the girl’s boyfriend.

In another incident on November 14, a 17-year old senior high school student at the University of Makati in Manila was shot and killed by unidentified assailants, just as Duterte was hosting a summit of Asian and world leaders in Manila.

On the same day, it was also reported that a fire mysteriously hit the Caloocan police station, destroying parts of the first floor of the building, where case files and evidence were kept.

“The killings are still happening, but the accountability of those who were ordered to kill has not been made possible,” Wilnor Papa, an Amnesty International spokesman, said in Manila.

The appeal of Amnesty and other human rights groups to visiting world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, to publicly confront Duterte about the killings also fell on deaf ears.

In Anak Pawi, Joven Tare, the neighbourhood’s fish vendor, was back in the street with fresh catch to sell.

With a family to feed, there was no stopping his business, despite the death of his assistant, Kulot.

He recalled how Kulot was always eager to help, even though he often needed instruction what to do next.

“By this time Kulot would have been busy helping me haul the fish and other seafood from the icebox,” he told Al Jazeera, while slicing a piece of milkfish for a customer.

Three others were milling around waiting for their turn to buy.

“But Kulot is gone now.”

WATCH: Philippine police ‘dumping bodies’ of drug war victims (2:39)

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ted Regencia

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/12/philippines-police-kill-children-171201095145571.html

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Image result for duterte, dela rosa, together, photos

President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa. PhilStar photo

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
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Journalists call out Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa for his “utterly asinine and potentially dangerous” remarks against news agency Reuters

November 29, 2017
On Tuesday, dela Rosa insinuated that drugs lords could be behind the release of a Reuters special report on the alleged police killing of three men in Tondo, Manila last October. PNP photo

MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on Wednesday hit Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa for his “utterly asinine and potentially dangerous” remarks against news agency Reuters.

“At the very least, he owes the men and women of Reuters, particularly writers Clare Baldwin and Andrew R.C. Marshall, an apology and a pledge to ensure their safety from the possible consequences of his irrational and irresponsible utterances,” NUJP said in a statement.

The group also criticized dela Rosa for telling media outlets how they should report the news and for reacting without reading the Reuters report.

“It is truly alarming that a man whose job is supposed to be governed by strict rules of evidence has many times shown a propensity for shooting from the lip, this time pillorying a news organization for a report he has not even read yet while glossing over the reason for the report— the existence of possible murderers and sundry lawbreakers—within the service he leads,” it said.

NUJP added: “Alas for you, Mr. Dela Rosa, the media have faced worse dangers than loose-lipped cops who choose to blame their shortcomings on others.”

On Tuesday, dela Rosa insinuated that drugs lords could be behind the release of a Reuters special report on the alleged police killing of three men in Tondo, Manila last October.

“Tina-timing nila. Saka nila nilalabas ‘yung mga ganon, damaging reports about the PNP kung kailan tayo babalik. Ibig sabihin, ‘yung mga kalaban natin, ayaw talaga tayong pabalikin sa war on drugs,” he said.

Dela Rosa also told Reuters: “What I can tell Reuters is that if you want the PNP to look bad, you can do it. You can really do it […] If you want to present a very objective presentation, you can also do it. If you want to be biased in our favor, you can also do it. So they have a choice.”

On November 27, Reuters released an investigative report detailing an alleged drug operation carried out by members of the Manila police in Barangay 19 in Manila.

Reuters released video footage from four security cameras showing several police men in the morning of October 11, 2017—a day after Duterte released a memo stripping the police of control over the drug war.

The Manila Police District Superintendent said an “in-depth” probe will be launched regarding the matter.

READPalace ‘authenticating’ video in Reuters report on drug war

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/29/1763684/nujp-dela-rosa-reacting-without-reading-reuters-report

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Two human rights campaigners killed in Philippines — “Philippines has long suffered from a culture where powerful figures feel they can get away with murder”

November 29, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Human rights groups say the Philippines has long suffered from a culture where powerful figures feel they can get away with murder

MANILA (AFP) – 

Two campaigners investigating alleged human rights abuses have been shot dead in the Philippines, authorities said Wednesday, deepening concerns that a “climate of impunity” is threatening rights activists.

The pair, who were looking into accusations of land-grabbing by a mayor on the central island of Negros, were riding a motorcycle when gunmen on two other motorcycles overtook them and opened fire on Tuesday, police said.

Elisa Badayos, an officer for national rights organisation Karapatan, and Eleuterio Moises, a member of a local peasant group, were both killed and another member of their investigating team was wounded, they added.

The group was examining cases of peasants apparently being forced off their farms, said Karapatan’s media officer Geri Cerillo.

“Private goons (armed men) were harassing the residents. There were land-grabbing attempts of the politicians there,” she told AFP.

Police and the the government’s independent Commission on Human Rights said they would open a probe into the killings.

Human rights groups say the Philippines has long suffered from a culture where powerful figures feel they can get away with murder, including that of activists and journalists.

Watchdogs say the situation has worsened under Duterte, a former city mayor elected last year who has repeatedly criticised human rights campaigners as he wages a drug war that has claimed thousands of lives.

Duterte last year threatened to kill rights activists if they hindered his centrepiece anti-drug campaign.

Karapatan said in a statement that armed men working for a local mayor had blocked the mission, harassed and shadowed the investigating team even before the attack.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan’s secretary general, said the incident worsened the “climate of impunity” in the Philippines.

“Armed (men) of landlords and politicians are emboldened to commit human rights violations, especially with Duterte’s avowals to protect and coddle human rights violators among his police and military,” Palabay told AFP.

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Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
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Philippines: Investigation of Video Could Verify Reports of Lawless Police Behaviour in Duterte’s War On Drugs

November 28, 2017
On November 27, Reuters released an investigative report detailing an alleged drug operation carried out by members of the Manila police in Barangay 19 in Manila. Photo by JOVEN CAGANDE

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will not tolerate abuses by rogue cops, Malacañang said Tuesday, adding that authorities are now authenticating security camera footage allegedly showing the summary execution of an alleged drug trafficker.

“I assure you that the authorities are now looking into this matter. We’re in the process also of authenticating the video,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press conference when sought for comment.

“I assure you that the President will not tolerate any abuses that may be committed by some personnel of the PNP (Philippine National Police),” Roque added.

Image result for duterte, dela rosa, together, photos

President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa. PhilStar photo

“I will look at the video in my capacity as Presidential Adviser on Human Rights. But I will have to find the video and it will have to be somehow authenticated.”

Duterte, who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a brutal law-and-order platform, has stoked international alarm over his administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Human rights watchdogs say most of fatalities in the crackdown were extrajudicial killings committed by cops—a claim that the government had vehemently denied by insisting that cops were only killing in self-defense.

On November 27, Reuters released an investigative report detailing an alleged drug operation carried out by members of the Manila police in Barangay 19 in Manila.

Reuters released video footage from four security cameras showing several police men in the morning of October 11, 2017—a day after Duterte released a memo stripping the police of control over the drug war.

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, in a chance interview at the Supreme Court, said “police are too busy to watch TV” to explain the existence of anti-drug operations that day.

Senior Superintendent Joel Napoleon Coronel, Manila Police District chief, said the national headquarters only issued a directive to desist from anti-drug operations on October 14.

The cops, some in plain clothes, were wearing protective vests and holding firearms. After clearing the alley, they were seen shooting at Rolando Campo, an alleged drug peddler.

An officer was also seen turning the camera that captured the action away from the scene after the shooting.

According to Manila Police District Superintendent Erwin Magarejo, an “in-depth” probe will be launched regarding the matter.

“Due process and presumption of regularity in the conduct of the police operational procedures will be followed,” Magarejo said.

“If evidence warrants against those personnel involved, we will file the necessary charges against them,” he added.

Coronel said that despite the existence of the video footage, there was “no indication that there’s irregularity or impropriety even in the police operation.”

He said that the cameras were “located more than 100 meters away from the actual shootout” and that the report is “inconclusive, at the very least.”

He added the case has been referred to the police Internal Affairs Service, which, he has been assured, will conduct a “thorough and, definitely impartial, deeper investigation into the matter.”

READ: Manila police to probe operation caught on video

‘Respect the status quo’

Reuters’ report came after Duterte said he might once again tap the police to lead his deadly drug war as he repeatedly doubted the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s capability to enforce the bloody campaign.

READ: Roque: Duterte not satisfied with PDEA handling drug war | PDEA welcomes return of PNP to lead drug war

But the Palace said the president “was still thinking about” taking such a move.

Asked if the CCTV footage reported by Reuters could affect Duterte’s decision regarding the looming comeback of the PNP to the frontline of his war on drugs, Roque said the matter remains “pending.”

“I do not know if it will or it will not have an impact but until the President has actually issued anything in writing, let’s respect the status quo,” he said.

To recall, Duterte removed the PNP from the anti-drug campaign after the death of two teenage suspects triggered rare street protests last August.

Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old student accused of being a drug runner, and 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz, a suspected robber were believed to have been executed by the Caloocan City police.

According to police who seized the teenager in an anti-drug operation last August, delos Santos violently resisted arrest, prompting them to return fire.

But this report came under fire after a CCTV footage aired by television networks showed the minor being dragged by two plainclothes cops to an alley where his dead body was later found with a gun in his left hand.

READ: Duterte on Kian’s case: May twist dyan

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/28/1763322/palace-authenticating-video-reuters-report-drug-war

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Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
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President Duterte May Put The Philippine National Police Back Into The Drug War — Here’s a Snap Shot of 18 PNP Officers Conduct in Drug War

November 26, 2017
One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file
By:  – Reporter / @jiandradeINQ
 / 05:22 AM November 25, 2017

More policemen in the Camanava area may have their careers cut short due to questionable antidrug operations—just when President Duterte is planning to put the Philippine National Police (PNP) back as the lead agency in the war on narcotics.

The PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has recommended the dismissal of 18 members of the Northern Police District (NPD) for grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of an officer.

IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo said the recommendation covers 11 Malabon City policemen linked to the May 20 kidnapping of a woman from whom they extorted P2 million; and seven officers under the Navotas City police who seized and tortured a male drug suspect.

Image result for duterte, dela rosa, together, photos

President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa. PhilStar photo

The Malabon policemen were identified as SPO2 Jerry de la Torre, SPO2 Ricky Pelicano, PO3 Bernardino Pacoma, PO3 Michael Angelo Solomon, PO3 Luis Hizon Jr., PO2 Michael Huerto, PO2 Wilson Sanchez, PO1 Frances Camua, PO1 Joselito Ereno, PO1 Ricky Lamsen and PO1 Jovito Roque Jr.

Complaint vs Malabon cops

In a resolution dated Nov. 20, the IAS gave no credence to the policemen’s defense that they arrested Norma Adrales in a legitimate antidrug operation in Barangay Potrero on May 22.

According to her complaint, however, they abducted her two days earlier in Veterans Village, Quezon City, after she visited her boyfriend, a car theft convict, at New Bilibid Prison. She was then brought to the Malabon police station, where the policemen took her van and other belongings and made it appear that she was arrested in a drug bust in that city.

She said the officers demanded that she produce a kilo of “shabu” in exchange for her release. They allegedly forced her to transact with a drug dealer in a hotel in Novaliches to get the drugs.

However, after getting the shabu, she was still asked to cough up P2 million, which she managed to reduce to P1 million after some haggling.

Four of the 11 policemen involved were later caught in an entrapment operation by the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force (PNP-CITF).

The IAS pointed out that the policemen were not even part of the city’s drug enforcement unit, yet they had falsified documents, including medical certificates, to plant evidence against drug suspects like Adrales.

Navotas case

A separate IAS resolution on the same date ruled against a group of Navotas policemen, namely PO3 Kenneth Loria, PO2 Jonnel Barocaboc, PO2 Jessrald Pacinio, PO1 Mark Ryan Mones, PO1 Christian Paul Bondoc, PO1 Emmanuel Benedict Alojacin and PO1 Jack Rennert Etcubanas.

They were marked for dismissal over the Aug. 11 arrest of drug suspect Mark Echapare in Barangay Longos.

The IAS said they seized Echapare and, using his own cell phone, called his mother to demand P100,000 so that the drug charges against her son would be dropped. Echapare was illegally detained and even tortured to give a confession, acts that were considered “a serious constitutional breach,” it added.

The officers also prepared a spot report on Echapare’s arrest but did not put it in the blotter.

They surrendered to their chief, Senior Supt. Allen Ocden, after Echapare’s parents lodged a complaint in the PNP-CITF.

The IAS resolutions have been submitted to PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa for his approval, Triambulo said.

Once their dismissal is approved by the PNP chief, the concerned officers can still make an appeal before the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management within 10 days after receiving the order. They can also elevate their case to the National Police Commission.

Earlier this week, the PNP-IAS also pushed for the removal of 13 Caloocan policemen over the killing of teenage robbery suspect Carl Angelo Arnaiz and the complaint of a woman who cried robbery after a group of officers searched her house for drugs without a warrant.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/947511/pnp-back-in-drug-war-see-what-18-npd-cops-did#ixzz4zZVLTbZh
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
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Sweden raises issues on human rights with Philippines — Do Foreign businessmen in the Philippines fear for their safety?

November 26, 2017
Stenstrom

MANILA, Philippines — Sweden has raised with the Philippine government the issues on human rights, the conduct of the war on drugs and the possible reintroduction of capital punishment.

Oscar Stenstrom, deputy minister of trade and European Union affairs, raised the issues during a meeting with officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) during his two-day visit in Manila on Wednesday and Thursday last week to improve bilateral trade.

During the meetings, Stenstrom also raised developments that concern the Swedish government and Swedish businesses in the country.

“I have raised the issues of human rights, about the possible reintroduction of capital punishment. The questions on human rights and especially how law enforcement has been conducting the war on drugs concern us. It’s an issue which I brought up with the government of the Philippines,” Stenstrom said in an interview with The STAR on Thursday after a meeting with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo at the DFA in Pasay City.

Stenstrom said Swedish companies operating in the Philippines are concerned about the developments.

“If they are concerned, we are concerned, and as I said we have a very strong view on human rights, which I have explained to the Philippine government that we disagree here. We would like to see improvement and we are expecting improvement,” he stressed.

The developments that concern Sweden were also discussed during a meeting with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

“I can only say that we have different views on the issue. It’s very clear, the position of the Swedish government as well as the EU Commission,” Stenstrom said.

“But I also received an answer that they moved the responsibility from the national police to the PDEA and with the promise that that would improve the situation and this is now to be seen by us,” he added, referring to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

But President Duterte said he needed to give back to the Philippine National Police (PNP) the lead role in the war on narcotics because the drug menace continued to worsen.

The document ordering the return of the drug war operation to the PNP is reportedly awaiting Duterte’s signature.

Last month, Duterte designated the PDEA as the agency in charge of the war on drugs.

The order returning the PNP to the frontline of the war on drugs was not mentioned by Philippine officials during the meeting.

“That was not mentioned to me,” Stenstrom said.

Sweden, he said, would like to see the Philippines keep the GSP+ trade privilege, which the EU had threatened to cancel because of the alleged extrajudicial killings related to the drug war.

In March, the EU was urged to follow a proposal hitting the Philippine government where it may hurt most,  by removing trade incentives for the country.

Members of the European Parliament asked the EU to put pressure on the Philippines by considering the removal of the GSP+ privilege.

“In the future, we would like to see a free trade arrangement between the EU and the Philippines. We also would like to see the Philippines keep the GSP+, the arrangement in which the trade is ongoing right now,” Stenstrom said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/27/1762930/sweden-raises-issues-human-rights-phl

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