Posts Tagged ‘Ronald dela Rosa’

Philippines; Government Human Rights Watchdog Says Philippine National Police Must Follow Existing Law and Rules of Engagement Covering Arrest and Search Warrants

August 1, 2017
Images released by the PNP show mugshots of Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog- Echavez (left) and her brother Reynaldo Parojinog Jr. taken during booking procedures at Camp Crame last Tuesday.

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) yesterday reminded the Philippine National Police (PNP) to comply with the existing rules of engagement covering arrest and search warrants.

“There are set procedures on how to legally and validly serve warrants of arrest or search warrants,” CHR commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said when asked about the statement of PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa that there will be more to come after the deadly raid in Ozamiz City that killed the mayor and 14 others last Sunday.

Gana, who heads the CHR task force on extrajudicial killings, said they would also look at the raid that resulted in the death of Ozamiz City mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife Susan, two siblings and 11 others.

“We are still awaiting the report of the police on how the operation was done,” the CHR official said.

“The CHR is mandated to look into how the ‘duty bearer’ – the police in this case – did their job, that is whether the operation was done legitimately and whether due process was observed,” she added.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia earlier said the commission has already started its investigation on the incident.

“No conclusions yet at this time, but the purpose of the investigation is to determine if protocols were followed in the implementation of the search warrant and use of deadly force,” added De Guia.

Several lawmakers, including Liberal Party president and Sen. Francis Pangilinan, expressed doubt that due process was followed in the raid.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said it would not meddle in the investigation of the CHR.

President Duterte earlier tagged Parojinog and his daughter, arrested Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez, as among the narco-politicians in the country. The Parojinogs denied the allegation.

Human rights advocates have assailed the credibility of the police account of the recent killing of the mayor of Ozamiz.

Human Rights Watch said even Pangilinan questioned why the raid occurred at 2:30 a.m. and why police “paralyzed” close circuit television cameras in and around the Parojinog residence, which could have provided visual evidence of how the operation unfolded.

On the other hand, Parojinog’s daughter Nova accused the policemen of planting drugs at the scene.

Phelim Kine, deputy director of Human Rights Watch-Asia Division, said that police killings of two other city mayors implicated in drug trafficking have also raised questions about police methods and accountability.

In October 2016, police killed mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao in a similar shootout.

On Nov. 5, 2016, police shot dead Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte in what police described as a firefight in his cell after he brandished a concealed pistol. Espinosa had surrendered to the police following public accusations by Duterte that he was a drug trafficker.

Both the National Bureau of Investigation and the Senate concluded the police officers had committed “premeditated murder” in the Espinosa case.

Despite that ruling, earlier this month, the 18 officers implicated in Espinosa’s death returned to work.

United Nations human rights experts urged the government to immediately act on the increasing reports of human rights violations, including murder, threats against indigenous peoples and the summary execution of children.

“Attacks are spiraling against many groups in society and we are making an urgent appeal for government action,” said a joint statement issued by Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children.

The experts highlighted numerous killings and extrajudicial executions of villagers, farmers and human rights defenders seeking to protect the ancestral land of lumad indigenous peoples against businesses.

Noy wants Ozamiz probe

Former president Benigno Aquino III expressed belief the killings in Ozamiz City must be investigated because of the number of casualties during the series of raids.

He also called on authorities to determine whether the current strategy being employed in the drug war could really be effective, since the surveys would show the same number of drug users in the country from the time he stepped down until now – which was 1.8 million to 1.3 million.

Aquino told reporters after the mass held for the 8th death anniversary of his mother Corazon, also a former president and democracy icon at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, that it did not seem feasible to gun down all of those in the houses of the Parojinogs without the raiding team getting hit, since there were only 16 of them while the number of those killed was 15.

He said there could be different treatments for a problem but the question at the end of the day should be: “Has anything changed? There should be a change.”

Aquino said during his time, they tried their best to follow the processes of case build up, gathering of evidence and prosecution of suspects.

He said no matter how successful an operation was, there should be a review of what could be improved, especially when people got killed.

Aquino also stressed they did try their best to curb illegal drugs during his time, along with the many other problems they had to deal with.  – With Aurea Calica, Rhodina Villanueva, Pia Lee-Brago

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/02/1723757/chr-pnp-must-follow-search-arrest-rules

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Philippines: Human Rights watch Question Police Operations That Killed Mayors, Others — Slaughter “raised questions about the method and accountability of the law enforcers.”

August 1, 2017
Photo shows Ozamis City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog in a photo dated 2010 on his Facebook account.

MANILA, Philippines — International human rights group reacted to the latest killing of a city mayor in the Philippines, a third incident since President Rodrigo Duterte launched the war against illegal drugs last year.

Human Rights Watch Deputy Director for Asia Phelim Kine said Tuesday that the death of Ozamis City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and 14 others raised questions about the method and accountability of the law enforcers.

Kine said that the claims of the raiding team of Philippine National Police that they were met with volleys of fire from Parojinog’s security is dubious, including the time of the operation which happened during the wee hours of the day.

He asserted that the questionable account of the authorities is not something new since they have already debunked government claims of the lawful nature of the deaths of more than 7,000 suspected drug users and dealers.

“Skepticism of the accounts by Philippine National Police of anti-drug operations is fully-justified,” Kine said in a dispatch posted on their website.

“Interviews with witnesses and victims’ relatives, and analysis of police records, show a pattern of unlawful police conduct designed to paint a veneer of legality over extrajudicial executions,” he added.

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Accountability? PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (left) and Senator Richard Gordon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

READ: Bato says he wanted Parojinog alive

Kine noted the killing of Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao province in October 2016, and the same fate of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. after a month.

Shot and killed in the middle of the night by Philippine Police while in prison: Photos on obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa, meanwhile, saw the operation as legitimate as he warned that there would be more crackdowns of narco-politicians.

Kine believes that the “police will continue to kill with impunity for the foreseeable future” due to the assurance of the pardon coming from the president himself.

Cops behind the killing of Espinosa in November were reinstated despite the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation and Senate that the mayor’s death was premeditated.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/01/1723571/hrw-skepticism-cops-accounts-parojinog-raid-fully-justified

READ: HRW blasts reinstatement of Marcos, other cops in Espinosa slay

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Indonesia Will Follow The Philippines and Shoot Suspected Drug Traffickers

July 24, 2017
In this March 8, 2017 file photo, Indonesian President Joko Widodo waits for the arrival of his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. President Jokowi says police should shoot drug traffickers who resist arrest because of a narcotics crisis facing the country. Jokowi’s spokesman, Johan Budi, said Sunday, July 23, 2017, that the president made the comments at a recent meeting of an Indonesian political party. AP/Dita Alangkara, File

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo says police should shoot drug traffickers who resist arrest because of a narcotics crisis facing the country.

Presidential spokesman Johan Budi said Sunday that Jokowi made the comments at a recent meeting of an Indonesian political party.

“We have to take firm action. If drug dealers who operate in Indonesia fight back when arrested, officers can shoot them, because we are in a narcotics emergency position now,” Jokowi said, according to his spokesman.

Local media reported last week that police shot dead a Taiwanese man for resisting arrest during a seizure of 1 ton of crystal methamphetamine, Indonesia’s largest-ever seizure of the drug.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched an anti-drug crusade last year in which thousands of alleged drug dealers and users have been killed, often in circumstances akin to lawless summary executions. The crackdown has been condemned by rights groups and governments around the world.

RELATED: Duterte to PNP: Kill 1,000, I’ll protect you | ‘Not acceptable’: Morales slams Duterte’s order to kill criminals

Indonesia has tough anti-drug laws and traffickers can receive the death penalty. Four people, one Indonesian and three Nigerians, were executed by firing squad last year, and dozens are on death row for trafficking.

Budi said Jokowi’s comment is not a shoot to kill order and police actions should be measured and in accordance with the law.

It’s a message to all Indonesians to show the commitment of the government to fighting narcotics, he said.

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Indonesian National Police Chief Tito Karnavian, left, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, center, and Royal Malaysia Police Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar link arms together prior to the start of their Trilateral Security Meeting in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines Thursday, June 22, 2017. The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia plan to closely cooperate to halt the flow of militants, weapons, funds and extremist propaganda across their borders as they expressed alarm over recent attacks in their countries. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Indonesian National Police Chief Tito Karnavian, left, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, center, and Royal Malaysia Police Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar link arms together prior to the start of their Trilateral Security Meeting in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines Thursday, June 22, 2017. The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia plan to closely cooperate to halt the flow of militants, weapons, funds and extremist propaganda across their borders as they expressed alarm over recent attacks in their countries. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Indonesian President Orders Officers to Shoot Drug Traffickers — Following Lead from the Philippines

July 22, 2017

JAKARTA — Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has instructed law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers to deal with a narcotics emergency facing the country.

“Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest. Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now,” Widodo said in a speech delivered at an event held by one of Indonesia’s political parties late on Friday.

His remarks have drawn comparison to that of Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte, who launched a brutal anti-drug crackdown about a year ago that saw many alleged drug dealers killed.

The bloody campaign in the Philippines has drawn condemnation from the international community, including the United Nations.

Indonesia also has tough laws against drugs. Widodo has previously been criticized for ordering executions against convicted drug traffickers who were given a death penalty by the court. Rights activists and some governments have called on Indonesia to abolish the death penalty.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo

Friday’s shooting order from Widodo came a week after Indonesian police shot dead a Taiwanese man in a town near the capital Jakarta.

The man, who was part of a group trying to smuggle one tonne of crystal methamphetamine into the country, was killed for resisting arrest, police have said.

After the incident, Indonesian National Police chief Tito Karnavian was quoted by media saying he had ordered officers not to hesitate shooting drug dealers who resist arrest.

Image result for Indonesian National Police chief Tito Karnavian, photos

Indonesian National Police chief Tito Karnavian

(Reporting by Jakarta bureau; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Image result for Indonesian National Police chief Tito Karnavian, photos

Indonesian National Police Chief Tito Karnavian, left, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa

Indonesian National Police Chief Tito Karnavian, left, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, center, and Royal Malaysia Police Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar link arms together prior to the start of their Trilateral Security Meeting in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines Thursday, June 22, 2017. The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia plan to closely cooperate to halt the flow of militants, weapons, funds and extremist propaganda across their borders as they expressed alarm over recent attacks in their countries. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Indonesian National Police Chief Tito Karnavian, left, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, center, and Royal Malaysia Police Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar link arms together prior to the start of their Trilateral Security Meeting in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines Thursday, June 22, 2017. The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia plan to closely cooperate to halt the flow of militants, weapons, funds and extremist propaganda across their borders as they expressed alarm over recent attacks in their countries. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Human Rights Watch Hammers The Philippines on Police Reinstatements After Murders — HRW says the president’s statement encouraging the killing of drug suspects could be considered “criminal incitement,” police action could be  crimes against humanity.

July 14, 2017

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PNP-Crime Investigation and Detection Group of Region 8 headed by Superintendent Marvin Marcos faces Senate investigation in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa. STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File

MANILA, Philippines — A human rights watchdog on Friday blasted the reinstatement of police officers accused of involvement in the killing of a former Leyte mayor, saying that such move demonstrated a “kids-gloves” treatment of the cops as it reiterated its call for a United Nations-led probe into mounting killings in relation to the government’s drug war.

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based watchdog, said the “kid-gloves” handling of the officers was emblematic of the impunity given to those accused of killing more than 7,000 people, mostly from urban poor communities, in the government’s conduct of its war on drugs.

The government, however, contradicted this and released data last May showing a lower figure of nearly 4,600 drug-related killings. It added that many of the deaths cited by government critics were classified as still under investigation although up to now no update has been made on their status.

HRW has been critical of the President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against narcotics and in March released a report accusing the Philippine leader of inciting the killings of Filipinos accused of involvement in illegal drugs.

The group recently described Duterte’s first year in offices as a “human rights calamity” for the mounting drug war killings and the intimidation of his government’s critics.

On Wednesday, Duterte told the personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology that he had already ordered the return to service of Superintendent Marvin Marcos and his 18 men who were found to have been involved in the killing of former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and his cell mate Raul Yap last year by the Senate and National Bureau of Investigation.

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The president said that Marcos should be reactivated as he was not part of the raiding team and was far from the scene of the operations.

This generated a slew of strong reactions especially from senators who investigated the deaths last year.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, head of the one of the two Senate committees that probed into the incident, could not hide his disgust and spewed an invective to show his frustration with the president’s move.

“In sum, there is a phrase to describe this whole damn thing: Put*ng I*a!” Lacson said.

The return to service of the police personnel followed the downgrade of cases of these cops from murder to homicide.

HRW said that the return to service of the cops was not surprising considering that Duterte vowed in the past that he would even pardon, reinstate and promote them.

“They can call me and say they have been convicted, and I’ll tell the judge to pardon them all,” Duterte was quoted by HRW as saying.

He repeated this promise on Wednesday when he again offered a vigorous defense of security officials involved in the killings. He said that they should not be prosecuted for following his orders.

“Sabi ko, ‘Wala akong pakialam dyan. File na ninyo lahat ng gusto ninyong file.’ Pero sabi ko and in front of Cabinet, ‘I will never allow a military man, a government man or a policeman na makukulong for doing his duty and obeying my order,” the president said, to the applause of most of the members of the audience.

The group debunked the usual police refrain that suspects killed either resisted arrest or were targeted by “unknown gunmen.”

These drug war deaths demand accountability through an investigation of a UN-led panel, the group said.

“Until that occurs, police and their agents implicated in those killings will continue to get away with murder,” the watchdog said.

READ: UN official seeks protection for Callamard amid threats

Based on HRW research, the deaths of suspected drug users and dealers, which Duterte had used to brand his campaign a success, were due to unlawful police conduct which was designed to lend legality to extrajudicial killings which “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

HRW said that the president’s past statement encouraging the killing of drug suspects could be considered “criminal incitement,” warning him and senior government figures that they could be charged with crimes against humanity.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/14/1719536/hrw-blasts-reinstatement-marcos-other-cops-espinosa-slay

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Photo taken in November last year shows Supt. Marvin Marcos attending a hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights. GEREMY PINTOLO
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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

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Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: Senator Calls Head of the Philippine National Police a “Slacker”

July 13, 2017
 Gordon calls PNP chief ‘Bato-gan’ for not addressing ‘riding-in-tandem’ slays
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PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (left) and Senator Richard Gordon. INQUIRER, AP FILE PHOTOS

From “Bato” to “Bato-gan”?

An exasperated Senator Richard Gordon called out Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa for failing to address the riding-in-tandem killings in the country.

“General Bato, fix the killings of people riding on motorcycles. Alagad kayo ng batas, ayusin niyo ang batas hindi ang kabaro niyo,” Gordon said in an interview on Thursday.

Gordon was calling out the police chief for allowing the reinstatement of Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 other cops involved in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

The senator said Dela Rosa should have told President Duterte that it would be detrimental to the police force if Marcos would be brought back to service.

If the killings would continue, Gordon said he would call Dela Rosa, who earned monicker “Bato” for his tough image, by the name “Bato-gan” (slacker).

“That must be addressed by General Bato. Babaguhin ko na pangalan ni General Bato, lalagyan ko na ng ‘Gan’ para ‘Batogan,’” Gordon said.

The senator also expressed concern over the killing of a provincial health officer in Cavite, who was gunned down last Tuesday by motorcycle-riding men.

“Ang daming namamatay wala silang ginagawa. They will serve the President and this country better if they do their job,” he said. JE

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/913697/gordon-calls-pnp-chief-bato-gan-for-not-addressing-riding-in-tandem-slays#ixzz4mjK5hlLe
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Philippines: Police Involved in Mayor’s Murder, While in Custody, Reinstated — After President Duterte declared in a speech that he wanted the suspended police official returned to duty

July 13, 2017

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Photo taken in November last year shows Supt. Marvin Marcos attending a hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights. GEREMY PINTOLO

MANILA, Philippines – Facing trial for homicide for the killing of a Leyte town mayor last year, Supt. Marvin Marcos is set to go back to active service as chief of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Soccsksargen or Region 12.

His being given a new command – as announced by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa yesterday – came a day after President Duterte declared in a speech that he wanted the suspended police official returned to duty.

“He was reinstated. His case was resolved,” Dela Rosa told reporters in a chance interview on the sidelines of the 25th Defense and Sporting Arms Show in Mandaluyong.

It was not clear which case Dela Rosa was talking about. Marcos and 18 of his men in the CIDG in Eastern Visayas still face criminal charges for two counts of homicide.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Marcos may go back to active duty because he had already served his suspension.

“The President respects and abides by the rule of law. Police Superintendent Marcos has served his suspension and is eligible to be back to duty,” Abella said in a statement.

“We leave the matter to the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to explain its decision,” Abella said.

Defending the reinstatement, Dela Rosa said Marcos and his 18 co-defendants in the killing of detained Albuera town mayor Rolando Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap last year had availed themselves of legal remedies under the country’s judicial system.

Dela Rosa added that police officers accused of wrongdoing are as much entitled to due process as ordinary crime suspects.

Marcos’ appointment was effective July 11, but he has yet to report to his new assignment, said Region 12 police director Chief Supt. Cedric Train. The command covers South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City.

“There is already an order but he has yet to report here. He is still at Camp Crame ,” Train said in a phone interview.

Marcos used to head the CIDG-Central Visayas before he and the 18 other police officers were relieved for their role in the killing of Espinosa and Yap in their cells at the Leyte sub-provincial jail before dawn last November.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier downgraded the charges against them from murder to homicide. With the downgrading of the case, Marcos and his men were allowed to post bail.

Dela Rosa said Marcos’ co-accused would also be reassigned to field offices after serving penalties recommended by the PNP-IAS.

He said the penalties include suspension, demotion and admonition. There was no recommendation for dismissal from the service.

“Here comes the decision. Why can’t we accept it?” the PNP chief said, addressing critics.

Dela Rosa challenged Marcos and the other police officers to work hard in their new assignments, “and show they are good policemen.”

Tough assignments

CIDG director Chief Supt. Roel Obusan said Marcos and his companions would be sent to areas where militants like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were active.

“Doon sa BIFF and ISIS area,” Obusan told The STAR in a text message when asked where Marcos and the others would be assigned.

Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute bandits have been fighting government troops in Marawi since May 23. The Maute depredation had prompted Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.

“It would be up to the CIDG where to assign him,” Dela Rosa said, referring to Marcos. “He will be back on full duty status so he can be utilized again by the PNP for whatever assignment given to him.”

For his part, National Police Commission (Napolcom) vice chairman Rogelio Casurao said there was nothing wrong with President Duterte declaring his desire to have Marcos reinstated.

At the 26th anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology last Wednesday, Duterte said Marcos should be reinstated because he was not part of the team that went to Espinosa’s jail cell.

“Marcos was suspended. He has served his suspension… so I said give back to the man his job. He’s not there anyway,” the President said in Filipino.

“Legally there is nothing wrong,” Casurao said, adding that the President did not directly order his officials to reinstate Marcos and the other policemen.

“So there you are, I hope our fellow Filipinos will understand there is nothing malicious about that from the legal point of view as well as the practical point of view,” Casurao said in a radio interview.

He pointed out that while Marcos and his companions are back in the police service, the Leyte regional trial court would be hearing the homicide case against the policemen.

“While they are working, there is progress in the case against them with the Department of Justice,” he said.

“That’s never the intention,” Casurao said to dispel impression that Marcos and the others were being exonerated. “In the first place, they are still in the service, they’re getting salaries doing nothing,” he said.

“At present there is nothing irregular about that, there’s still a trial in Leyte. What’s not good is if they’re exonerated of homicide even if there’s pending trial,” he said.

He also pointed out that President Duterte as chief executive has the prerogative to issue directives within the executive department.

“While it is the prerogative of the President to do that, remember the DOJ, the PNP and the Napolcom – these are all part of the executive department and only the President has final say on this,” he added.

He also urged the public not to make the situation more complicated by jumping to conclusions.

“Let’s try to help ease the situation and the problem of our government. We have so many problems because of the Marawi incident – let’s not make them worse by making wrong speculations,” he said.

Casurao said while the Senate may have found in the killing of Espinosa a case of murder, the DOJ has spoken and ruled that it was homicide.

“If there are findings concerning legal liability of murder, Senate can investigate the case in aid of legislation,” he said. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/14/1719384/cidgs-marcos-returns-duty-region-12

Photos on obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

No automatic alt text available.

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: Senator Jailed By Duterte Government Wants Investigation into Reuters Claims Police Sent Corpses to Hospitals to Destroy Evidence During “War on Drugs”

July 6, 2017

MANILA, Philippines –  Sen. Leila de Lima called for an inquiry into reports that anti-narcotics police were using hospitals to conceal incidents of extrajudicial killings (called murder in other nations).

In filing Senate Resolution 421 yesterday, De Lima cited a June 29 report from Reuters

describing how some policemen were sending corpses to hospitals to destroy evidence at crime scenes and hide the fact that they were executing drug suspects.In her resolution, De Lima said the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs should conduct the investigation into the report.

On July 3, Reuters reported that Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, would conduct an inquiry into the matter “basically because there are witnesses named” in the report.

No date has been set for the inquiry. Senate sessions resume on the third week of July.

“It was observed that most of the victims rushed by the police to the concerned hospitals were killed from lethal wounds…‘clean shots’ to the forehead, chest or heart, often fired from less than a meter away, atypical to injuries supposedly obtained from violent and frenzied exchanges of gunfire, as claimed by members of the Philippine National Police,” De Lima said, quoting the report.

Doctors claimed that as often as twice or three times a month, the police would deliver bodies already displaying rigor mortis for resuscitation.

When asked to comment on the report, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said police officers were not medically qualified to determine whether a victim was dead or alive, so the victim would be sent to hospital.

De Lima said these “alleged disreputable behaviors of police officers” may be indicative of abuses committed, contrary to the prescribed operational procedures found in the PNP handbook published last December 2013.

In particular, De Lima noted the PNP handbook states that excessive use of force during police operations is prohibited and, as much as possible, use of non-lethal measures should be applied to violent suspects.

By removing the bodies of the suspects from the crime scene, the forensic investigators or the scene of the crime operatives (SOCO) would not be able to effectively carry out their investigation.

With the victim already removed from the crime scene, the investigation effectively shifts from the SOCO to the police investigator handling the case, who often hails from the same precinct as the police officers who killed the suspect.

“The Reuters special report points to a distressing yet reparable anomaly in the current criminal justice system where the demands of truth and justice, which include the demand for holding public officers accountable, are being disregarded and completely undermined by an apparent criminal enterprise within the ranks of the PNP, which maliciously and systematically works to cover up of heinous abuses being committed by the members,” of the Philippine National Police, De Lima said in her resolution.

De Lima said it is imperative to investigate the allegations to determine their veracity towards the end of ensuring that lapses or willfully malicious acts, “which enable and perpetrate the commission of abuses and outright crimes during and after police operations, are addressed and prevented from being committed with impunity.”

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/07/1717228/leila-wants-probe-use-hospitals-conceal-ejks

Related:

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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 (Contains links to related articles)
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Image may contain: outdoor
Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
.

.

Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

No automatic alt text available.

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

.

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
.

Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippine Senate To Investigate Police Actions in “War on Drugs”

July 3, 2017

HONG KONG — A Senate committee in the Philippines will investigate police actions after a Reuters report detailed how officers have used hospitals to cover up executions in President Rodrigo Duterte’s year-old war on drugs, the committee’s head said on Monday.

The Reuters article, published on Thursday, detailed how police have been sending corpses of drug suspects to hospital after they were killed in anti-drug operations. Witnesses and family members said the suspects were executed and their bodies removed in a police cover up.

Interviewed for the article, Metro Manila Police Chief Oscar Albayalde promised to investigate the findings, which were based on eight months of official crime data and interviews with witnesses, family members, doctors and police.

MAKING INQUIRIES: Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told Reuters in June he hadn’t heard of his officers removing bodies from crime scenes. He promised to investigate. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa, who declined to be interviewed for the piece, challenged its contents on Friday and said police are not medically qualified to determine whether a victim is dead or alive. A spokeswoman for Reuters said the news agency stood by its reporting.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017. © NOEL CELIS / POOL / AFP

On Monday, responding to an opposition call for an investigation of Reuters’ findings, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs told Reuters there would be an inquiry.

“I will conduct an inquiry basically because there are witnesses named in the Reuters report,” added the chairman, Senator Panfilo Lacson. Witnesses are invited to testify under oath.

The Senate is small, with only 24 seats, but its members are influential. They include Manny Pacquiao, the boxing champion, and Lacson, a former national police chief. The Senate has also been home to Duterte’s fiercest critics.

Since the drug war began, senators have grilled top police officers and former hitmen in often sensational televised hearings that have enraged Duterte and mesmerized millions of Filipinos.

There was no immediate response from Duterte’s office to the Senate move.

The Reuters report, based on data from two of Metro Manila’s five police districts for the first eight months of the drug war, showed that of 301 victims sent to hospital after police anti-drug operations only two survived. The rest were dead on arrival.

In July 2016, the first month of the drug war, there were 10 dead-on-arrival cases, or 13 percent of police drug shooting deaths. By January 2017, the tally had risen to 51 cases, or 85 percent.

A police commander who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said the increase was not a coincidence and police were trying to prevent crime scene investigations and media attention that might show they were executing suspects.

In a three-page resolution calling for an inquiry, opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes also cited an earlier Reuters report that described how police were paid to kill drug suspects and plant evidence. A police spokesman at the time called the payment claim “implausible”.

No date has been fixed for the inquiry. The Senate resumes at the end of July.

(Reporting by Clare Baldwin, Manuel Mogato and Andrew R.C. Marshall; edited by Janet McBride)

Related:

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Philippine police use hospitals to hide drug war killings — Plus Philippine National Police Chief Response

July 1, 2017

By Reuters

Since late 2016, police have delivered hundreds of drug suspects to Manila hospitals. A Reuters investigation has revealed almost all were dead on arrival. Witnesses and family members say they were executed and their bodies removed from the scene in a police cover up.

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Filed June 29, 2017, noon GMT

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MANILA – The residents of Old Balara hid in their homes when gunfire erupted in their Manila district last September. They didn’t see the police operation that killed seven drug suspects that night.

But they witnessed the gory aftermath and it haunts them still.

That night, Herlina Alim said she watched police haul away the men’s bodies, leaving trails of blood. “They were dragged down the alley like pigs,” she said. Her neighbor Lenlen Magano said she saw three bodies, face down and motionless, piled at the end of the alley while police stood calmly by.

It was at least an hour, according to residents, before the victims were thrown into a truck and taken to hospital in what a police report said was a bid to save their lives. Old Balara’s chief, the elected head of the district, told Reuters he was perplexed. They were already dead, Allan Franza said, so why take them to hospital?

An analysis of crime data from two of Metro Manila’s five police districts and interviews with doctors, law enforcement officials and victims’ families point to one answer: Police were sending corpses to hospitals to destroy evidence at crime scenes and hide the fact that they were executing drug suspects.

Philippine police rack up an almost perfect deadly record in drug war

Thousands of people have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 30 last year and declared war on what he called “the drug menace.” Among them were the seven victims from Old Balara who were declared dead on arrival at hospital.

A Reuters analysis of police reports covering the first eight months of the drug war reveals hundreds of cases like those in Old Balara. In Quezon City Police District and neighboring Manila Police District, 301 victims were taken to hospital after police drug operations. Only two survived. The rest were dead on arrival.

The data also shows a sharp increase in the number of drug suspects declared dead on arrival in these two districts each month. There were 10 cases at the start of the drug war in July 2016, representing 13 percent of police drug shooting deaths. By January 2017, the tally had risen to 51 cases or 85 percent. The totals grew along with international and domestic condemnation of Duterte’s campaign.

This increase was no coincidence, said a police commander in Manila, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. In late 2016, he said, police began sending victims to hospitals to avoid crime scene investigations and media attention that might show they were executing drug suspects. A Reuters investigation last year found that when police opened fire in drug operations, they killed 97 percent of people they shot.

The Manila commander said police depended on emergency room doctors being too focused on the patients to care about why they were shot. The doctors “aren’t asking any questions. They only record it: DOA,” he said.

But five doctors told Reuters they were troubled by the rising number of police-related DOAs. Four said many drug suspects brought to hospital had been shot in the head and heart, sometimes at close range – precise and unsurvivable wounds that undermined police claims that suspects were injured during chaotic exchanges of gunfire.

Oscar Albayalde, Metro Manila’s police chief, said he had never heard of officers taking dead suspects to hospital to cover up crime scenes. “We will have that investigated,” he told Reuters. If that investigation showed police were “intentionally moving these dead bodies and bringing them to the hospitals just to alter the evidence, then I think we have to make them explain.”

Duterte’s office declined to expand on Albayalde’s response to Reuters’ questions.

TROUBLED: Allan Franza, chief of Manila’s Old Balara district, where police fatally shot seven drug suspects last September. He said he felt uneasy when asked to take the corpses to hospital. REUTERS/Clare Baldwin

According to police reports about the incidents, suspects shot during operations were “immediately rushed” to hospital. “The most important (thing) is the life of the person,” said Randy Llanderal, a precinct commander in Quezon City. The police reports reviewed by Reuters showed Llanderal had led or joined operations in which 13 drug suspects ended up dead on arrival.

Llanderal said all suspects were shot in self-defense during legitimate operations.

The Manila police commander, a retired senior officer and some doctors believe there is a cover up. Hospitalizing drug suspects who have been shot allows police to project a more caring image, said the Manila commander. The retired officer agreed. “It is basically a ploy to make the public believe that the police are mindful of the safety and survival of suspects,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Manila commander said his officers were instructed to shoot at “sensitive areas.” Suspects who survived were shot again to finish them off or smothered with their own clothing, he said.

A Reuters examination of the Old Balara incident and similar operations also suggests that the purpose of hospital runs was to destroy evidence rather than save lives. Police manhandled gunshot victims and showed no urgency in getting them medical treatment, said three sets of family members and other witnesses.

Interactive graphic. Click here

“You obliterate the crime scene – the evidence.”

Rizaldy Rivera, an agent at the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation

Removing bodies makes it harder to work out what really happened. “You obliterate the crime scene – the evidence,” said Rizaldy Rivera, an agent at the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation who has investigated allegations of police brutality. Police forensic investigators at the scene, said Rivera, must carry out their work on what is effectively a “tampered crime scene.”

Scene of Crime Operatives, or SOCO units as police forensic teams are called, process crime scenes and conduct autopsies. Aurelio Trampe, the police general who oversees SOCO, said police officers haven’t been removing bodies to alter crime scenes. He said they have the discretion to disregard crime-scene investigative procedures “just as long as they could save lives.”

SOCO can still collect evidence from bodies once they reach the hospital, but doesn’t always do so. Instead, said SOCO forensic chief Reynaldo Calaoa, that task falls to a police investigator assigned to the case. That investigator often hails from the same station as the colleagues who killed the suspect.

SHOOTING: The house in Manila’s Old Balara district where police fatally shot seven drug suspects last September. Pictured in April, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew R.C. Marshall

“All of them were cold to the touch.”

Jerome Paez, a doctor at East Avenue Medical Center

Such practices can leave the system open to abuse, said Raquel Del Rosario Fortun, an independent forensic scientist and chair of the University of the Philippines Manila pathology department.

“They do the shooting, they do the killing – and they investigate themselves,” she said. “Impunity, that’s what’s happening.”

Old Balara is part of Quezon City, the largest of the 17 cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila, and the most populous city in the Philippines.

Old Balara district chief Franza said police insisted his staff of volunteer security guards bring drug-war casualties from operations to the hospital – even when it was clear they were dead. Because he has assisted the police by transporting casualties, the victims’ families have accused him and his staff of complicity in the killings, he said.

In March, Franza decided he had had enough. Keep responding to police calls, he told his staff, but don’t take a body to hospital without the go-ahead from SOCO crime scene investigators. “I decided not to take action which I think is not proper,” said Franza.

The seven victims from Old Balara arrived at East Avenue Medical Center stacked in a flatbed truck and another vehicle, said Jerome Paez, an attending physician at the emergency room that night. Most had been shot in the head and many also had multiple gunshots in their chests, he said. None were breathing or had a pulse.

EMERGENCY ROOM: A drug suspect shot by police arrives at a public hospital in central Manila in June. He was declared dead on arrival. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

“All of them were cold to the touch,” said Paez, who has dealt with 21 drug suspects pronounced dead on arrival.

The victims had been refused admission earlier at Quezon City General Hospital’s emergency room, a 15-minute drive away, because they were already dead, said district chief Franza. The hospital told Reuters it had no record of receiving patients from Old Balara that night.

The Old Balara bodies were already in the morgue of East Avenue Medical Center by the time the mother of victim Elmer Gayoso arrived. She asked Reuters to withhold her name, saying she feared retribution from the police.

Gayoso had been shot through the head and the heart, she said, and the headshot had destroyed his face. She said her husband identified him by scouring his corpse for familiar childhood scars. The wounds were so grave that she didn’t believe that the police took Gayoso to the hospital to save his life.

“That was their pretense,” she said, weeping.

The killings also troubled Paez, the ER doctor. “We documented everything, just in case in the future it is needed for investigation,” he said.

Even if doctors at East Avenue Medical Center suspect a new arrival is dead, hospital protocol requires them to try to resuscitate the patient, said Paez. This is costly and wastes time at a big public hospital teeming with patients. In a recent visit by Reuters, old people wearing oxygen masks lay unmoving on gurneys. New patients arrived every few minutes.

Asked about the number of drug suspects arriving dead at hospital, the acting director of the East Avenue Medical Center, Victoria Abesamis, said: “I cannot categorically say that the police are bringing these dead bodies because they want to cover up. I think I will give them the benefit of the doubt.”

TRAINED SHOOTER

Lawrence Bello and three other doctors at East Avenue Medical Center interviewed by Reuters also expressed unease about handling dead-on-arrival cases from police operations.

Bello said the police would sometimes deliver bodies that were already displaying rigor mortis, which sets in several hours after death. East Avenue would get two or three such bodies per month, he said.

Bello has dealt with 20 cases where suspects were dead on arrival following a police operation, according to Quezon City Police District data. One of them, Bello said, had a single gunshot wound. The bullet had entered below the chin and exited through the top of the head. Bello said he found the injury “quite questionable.”

Such an injury is usually associated with victims of suicide or execution, said Homer Venters of Physicians for Human Rights, a group based in New York that investigates mass atrocities. “It is very hard for that to happen when a person isn’t fully compliant,” he said. Venters didn’t examine the body that Bello referred to.

Patel Mayuga, another ER doctor at East Avenue Medical Center, has pronounced 10 victims of police shootings dead on arrival, according to Quezon City Police District data. Suspects who are dead on arrival usually have “clean shots” in the forehead or chest, suggesting the killings were intentional, said Mayuga. “If they are shot in the chest or head, there was time for the attacker to prepare,” he said.

Many other drug suspects brought to hospitals in Quezon City by police were also shot in the head and heart, often from less than a meter away, four doctors told Reuters.

One January evening, police delivered five bodies in a small jeepney bus to the state-run Novaliches District Hospital in Quezon City. The floor of the jeepney bus was puddled with the victims’ blood and excrement, recalled Lawrence Laguno, the ER doctor on duty. According to police, the victims had all pulled guns and opened fire on undercover officers during an anti-drug operation. They missed, and the police returned fire.

IMPUNITY: Forensic pathologist Raquel Del Rosario Fortun told Reuters that crime scenes are open to abuse because the police “investigate themselves”. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

“All suspects were seriously injured,” said the police report. “Thereafter, wounded suspects were rushed to Novaliches District Hospital for medical treatment but pronounced dead on arrival by attending physician, Dr. Lawrence Laguno.”

Laguno told Reuters that all five men had been shot in the head and chest, with almost the same entry and exit wounds – injuries that looked to him both deliberate and impossible to survive. “It’s unusual to have the same five patients with almost the same injuries,” said the doctor. “It was a trained shooter. They knew what they were doing.”

Venters of Physicians for Human Rights said it is “incredibly rare” to sustain a tight grouping of gunshot wounds in a shootout. Venters, a medical doctor, has overseen research and investigations into extrajudicial killings. When bullets enter a body from the same direction and plane, it shows the target wasn’t moving, he said. “Either they were surprised and shot, or they were subdued and shot.”

Willie Saludares, acting chairman of the emergency room at East Avenue Medical Center, said doctors didn’t follow up on questionable cases, since how patients were killed wasn’t their concern. “I’m sorry to sound too cold, but that’s the way it is,” he said. “I am only concerned about the health of the patient. I’m not doing investigative work.”

Nor, it seemed, were others. Saludares said that state agencies that investigate police killings, such as the Commission on Human Rights or the National Bureau of Investigation, didn’t come to interview him. Saludares also said he was uncomfortable speaking freely and feared losing his job.

MAKING INQUIRIES: Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told Reuters in June he hadn’t heard of his officers removing bodies from crime scenes. He promised to investigate. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

Chito Gascon, chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, said that if specific cases were brought to the agency’s attention, its investigators should pursue them and secure testimony from doctors. But the Commission was stretched, he added. “The CHR, given its current capacity constraints, is only able to investigate and document a fraction of all the deaths that have been reported by the media,” he said.

The National Bureau of Investigation didn’t comment.

“THEY WEREN’T BREATHING”

Police say they don’t shoot to kill and that saving lives is paramount. But 17 witnesses interviewed by Reuters say their behavior at crime scenes suggests the opposite.

In September, in a district called Nagkaisang Nayon, precinct commander Llanderal led an operation that added six dead-on-arrival cases to the Quezon City body count. According to a police report, the suspects – five men and a woman – opened fire on undercover officers posing as drug buyers. They missed, and the officers returned fire.

“When the smoke cleared,” said the report, “all suspects sustained gunshot wounds on their body. Immediately thereafter, all suspects were rushed to Novaliches District Hospital for medical treatment but (were) pronounced dead on arrival.” None of the officers were injured.

Llanderal acknowledged that removing the bodies disturbed the crime scene, but insisted the suspects were alive. “They were still moving. All of them!” he said.

Bereaved relatives and other witnesses told Reuters the bodies were taken to hospital an hour or more after the shooting, and that none of the victims showed signs of life. “They weren’t moving. They weren’t breathing,” said Feliciano Dela Cruz, the local district chief.

“It’s not possible they were alive,” said Jocelyn Ceron, 47, whose husband, Ronaldo, was among the dead. “We saw them thrown in the back of a truck.”

Ceron said Ronaldo’s body had six bullet wounds: three in the chest or torso, one in the leg, and one in each hand. Relatives said the other bodies each bore at least six gunshot wounds. Ceron showed Reuters photos of the crime scene.

Llanderal confirmed that the photos were taken by police investigators and showed the immediate aftermath of his operation. One photo shows a woman lying face down in a blood-smeared alleyway. Others show a tiny room in which five men lie slumped in pools of blood or on the floor; two guns are clearly visible.

Reuters shared the crime scene photos with Fortun, the independent forensic scientist. “Based on the pictures, they are apparently very dead,” Fortun said of the six victims.

For so many bodies to be crammed into a tiny room “doesn’t seem consistent” with police claims that the suspects were shot while fleeing during a gun battle, she added.

Relatives of Ronaldo Ceron believe the police executed him and others in cold blood. A neighbour called Maricol Amacna said she heard one of the men begging, “Don’t kill me, sir!” The Commission on Human Rights says it is investigating the killings.

The police have dismissed allegations of wrongdoing as “useless and baseless,” and have issued commendations to Llanderal and his men for “the extraordinary courage you have displayed in the successful operation . . . which resulted in the neutralization” of the suspects.

Llanderal denied executing drug suspects. “In police operations, we don’t know where the bullets may hit,” he said. “Some suspects retaliate, fight us. We are only defending ourselves.”

LINE OF DUTY: Police line up for a flag-raising ceremony outside a station in Quezon City Police District in Manila in April. REUTERS/Andrew R.C. Marshall

Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato and Chin Samson

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Dead on Arrival

By Clare Baldwin and Andrew R.C. Marshall

Photo editing: Thomas White

Graphics: Simon Scarr and Jin Wu

Design: Catherine Tai

Video: Graham Mackay

Edited by Janet McBride and Peter Hirschberg

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/philippines-duterta-doa/

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The Philippines’ police chief on Friday stood by anti-narcotics officers and rejected a Reuters investigation that pointed to a pattern of police sending corpses of drug suspects to hospitals to destroy crime scene evidence and hide executions.

President Rodrigo Duterte took office in the Philippines a year ago, launching a bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands of Filipinos.

PREVIOUSLY FROM REUTERS INVESTIGATES:

Philippine police use hospitals to hide drug war killings

Podcast: Dead on arrival in Duterte’s drug war

In a television interview to mark the anniversary, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa appeared irritated by questions about the Reuters report, published on Thursday, and said police carrying out anti-drugs operations had a duty to save lives, even when encountering violent resistance.

He said police were not medically qualified to determine whether a victim was dead or alive and sent victims to hospital as part of operational procedure.

“What do you want, we let the wounded die? You don’t want us to rescue his life?” he told news channel ANC.

The Reuters investigation analyzed crime data from two of Metro Manila’s five police districts and included accounts of doctors, witnesses, law enforcement officials and victims’ families. [nL8N1JQ2NQ]

It showed a pattern of police sending dead bodies to hospitals, preventing thorough crime scene investigations from taking place after the killing of drug suspects. [nL8N1JQ2NQ]

Dela Rosa said Reuters, which has produced a series of in-depth reports into the war on drugs that have questioned official accounts, was “looking for faults” in the police.

“PNP is damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Reuters really is looking for faults in us. We have to stand by our police operational procedure that in case of an encounter, if a person is not yet declared dead by the physician, you need to bring him to the hospital.”

He added: “Who are the policemen to say they are dead? They are not medical practitioners. If we did not bring them to the hospitals, the relatives might sue us.”

A spokeswoman for Reuters said the news agency stood by its reporting.

Duterte’s bloody campaign has been condemned by human rights groups and alarmed Western countries due to the high death toll and allegations of systematic extrajudicial killings and cover-ups by police. The PNP rejects those allegations.

FEW SURVIVORS

Reuters looked at police reports covering the first eight months of the drug war, which showed that in Quezon City Police District and neighboring Manila Police District, 301 victims were sent to hospital after police anti-drug operations. Only two survived and the rest were dead on arrival.

In nearly all cases where drug suspects have died during police operations in the year-long crackdown, the official accounts say police fired in self defense. Police say they do not shoot to kill.

Activists, however, say the circumstances behind many of the killings in police sting operations point to executions. A Reuters investigation last year found that when police opened fire in anti-drug operations, they killed 97 percent of people they shot.

The data analyzed in the latest Reuters investigation shows a sharp increase in the number of drug suspects declared dead on arrival in the Quezon City and Manila districts each month.

There were 10 cases when the drug war started a year ago in July 2016, or 13 percent of police drug shooting deaths. By January 2017, the tally rose to 51 cases, or 85 percent, at a time when criticism of Duterte’s campaign intensified.

A police commander who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said the increase was no coincidence and police were

trying to prevent crime scene investigations and media attention that might show they were executing suspects.

Human rights groups say the anti-drugs crackdown, the signature policy of the populist Duterte, has been disastrous and has almost entirely targeted the poor, with most of those killed or arrested drug users and small-time dealers, with narcotics kingpins largely untouched.

Dela Rosa said police should not be disparaged for trying to save victims and the removal of bodies from a crime scene did not mean a proper investigation could not be carried out.

“Do not put malice in what the police does,” he said. “The crime scene is there even without the dead body.”

(Reporting by Martin Petty and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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Bato: Hospitals not being used for police coverup

A report from Reuters said many of the drug offenders who ended up in hospitals could have been dead even before they were brought there, possibly part of an attempt by police to cover up the killings. File

MANILA, Philippines –  Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa defended anti-narcotics operatives in Metro Manila from allegations that they use hospitals to cover up summary executions of suspected drug pushers.

A report from Reuters said many of the drug offenders who ended up in hospitals could have been dead even before they were brought there, possibly part of an attempt by police to cover up the killings.

An irate Dela Rosa hit back at Reuters in a televised interview over ANC on Friday, saying the news agency is bent on looking for flaws in their anti-drug operations.

“What does Reuters want? We just leave a person who has been shot to die?” Dela Rosa remarked.

“The PNP is damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Reuters is really looking for faults,” he said.

Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy ordered an investigation into the allegations.

Malacañang deferred to Dela Rosa to answer the allegations.

President Rodrigo Duterte

“The PNP has already answered this matter and we defer to their response,” said presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Abella refused to answer further queries on whether President Duterte will continue to protect policemen who have resorted to cutting corners to attain the Chief Executive’s order to go after drug offenders.

“We will not make any comments regarding that matter. We will defer to the answer of General Bato (Dela Rosa),” he added.

A total of 3,200 people have been killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 13, 2017, the government said.

A total of 49 drug suspects were killed in the past week after they allegedly put up a fight with the police.

Some 47 lawmen have been killed and 132 others were wounded in anti-drug operations since last year.

“We will live and die with our war on drugs,” he said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017. © NOEL CELIS / POOL / AFP

Dela Rosa vowed the campaign will be relentless until the last drug lord and pusher are arrested.

“We will finish it up to the last infrastructure of their shabu network business,” Dela Rosa said.

Debunking claims the police were orchestrating a cover up, Dela Rosa said it is part of their police procedures to save lives of criminals who engage policemen in a shootout.

Dela Rosa expressed frustration that police operatives are being portrayed negatively for doing their job.

“If we do not bring the suspect to the hospital, there is intention to kill, that’s why we left him to die. If we bring him to the hospital, we’ll be accused of covering up. Where do we go now?” he asked.

Reuters said 97 percent of the 301 drug suspects taken to hospitals in Quezon City and Manila were declared dead on arrival.

Dela Rosa retorted: “Who are you to say a person is dead? Are you a doctor? Only a doctor should declare (that a person is dead).”

He explained investigators can still process scenes even if the body was already taken out.

“Don’t put malice in the actions of the police because the crime scene is still there even if the body is gone,” Dela Rosa said.

He maintained they would never tolerate policemen who  commit abuses in the government’s war on drugs.

He added the campaign of purging the police ranks of scalawags continues as he revealed he is about to sign dismissal orders of 84 police officers whose administrative cases have been resolved.

“In less than one year, I was able to dismiss around 160 personnel. There are even more coming,” Dela Rosa said.

–  With Christina Mendez

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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial