Posts Tagged ‘Ronald dela Rosa’

Philippines says Hague court weighs complaint against Duterte over drug war deaths — “Duterte is complicit in the illegal deaths of thousands of Filipinos.”

February 8, 2018

MANILA (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has told the Philippines that it has begun a preliminary examination of a complaint accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of crimes against humanity, his spokesman said on Thursday.

 Image may contain: 2 people

FILE PHOTO – Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte with his director and Chief of the Philippine National Police Ronald dela Rosa | REUTERS

The complaint, which says Duterte is complicit in the illegal deaths of thousands of Filipinos during his war on drugs, was “a waste of the court’s time and resources” and the examination would be the end of the process, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

About 4,000 mostly urban poor Filipinos have been killed by police in the past 19 months in a brutal crackdown that has alarmed the international community. Activists believe the death toll is far higher.

Roque said he had discussed the ICC issue for two hours the previous night with Duterte, a former prosecutor, adding that the president more than willing to face trial.

“He’s sick and tried of being accused,” said Roque, an international law expert.

“He wants to be in court and put the prosecutor on the stand.”

The website of the ICC, which sits in the Hague in the Netherlands, carried no new information concerning the complaint against Duterte. The court’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Since it was set up in 2002, the ICC has received more than 12,000 such complaints or communications, just nine of which have gone to trial.


Duterte has dared it to bring him to trial and said he would rot in jail to save Filipinos from crime and drugs.

His tirades against the court are notorious, and include calling it “bullshit”, “hypocritical” and “useless”, stemming from one of its prosecutors saying there could be grounds for an investigation into his bloody crackdown.

He also threatened to cancel the Philippines’ ICC membership and said European lawyers were “rotten”, “stupid”, and had a “brain like a pea”.

Police say those thousands of killings were during legitimate anti-drugs operations in which the suspects had violently resisted arrest. Duterte has boasted about killing thousands of drug dealers and has told police they can kill if they believe their lives are in danger.

But his critics accuse him of incitement to murder and of refusing to properly investigate allegations that police are planting evidence, fabricating reports and executing users and dealers.

Duterte rejects such accusations and typically chides the international community for listening to what his government says are biased human rights groups that have no proof.

A Philippine lawyer filed the initial ICC complaint against Duterte and at least 11 senior officials last April, saying crimes against humanity were committed “repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously” and killing drug suspects and other criminals had become “best practice”.

Senator Antonio Trillanes and Congressman Gary Alejano sent a supplementary communication several months later urging an ICC investigation, which included a list of public statements made by Duterte that they said amounted to ‘shoot-to-kill’ orders.

Trillanes said the examination “should jolt Duterte into realizing that he is not above the law”.

Roque called the complainants “domestic enemies of the state” and said the ICC had no jurisdiction.

Pending court cases meant domestic legal processes had yet to be exhausted, and the anti-drugs campaign was a sovereign issue, he said.

Additional reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Clarence Fernandez


Philippines orders arrest of three policemen in drug war’s first murder case

February 7, 2018


MANILA (Reuters) – A court in the Philippines ordered the arrest on Wednesday of three policemen for the high-profile August 2017 killing of a teenager, the first murder case in a brutal war on drugs that has killed thousands of Filipinos.

The Caloocan City regional trial court in Manila issued an arrest order following the recent filing of murder charges by state prosecutors over the death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, a student described in a police report after his death as a drug courier.

“We will comply with the arrest order,” said John Bulalacao, national police spokesman, adding the three policemen once arrested would be transferred to a jail.

Family members at the casket of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos

They are currently on restricted duty having been reassigned to the regional headquarters south of Manila in the wake of the teenager’s murder. His death caused outrage over a bloody drugs crackdown that is largely supported by Filipinos, but condemned by the international community.

The three policemen were also charged with planting drugs and a handgun on delos Santos, who according to police experts, was shot dead while on his knees in a dark alley. His family and friends insist he had no involvement in drugs.

As in nearly 4,000 killings of drug suspects by police as part of the 19-month-old crackdown, the official report said delos Santos was killed because he violently resisted arrest, endangering officers’ lives.

But human rights groups and activists dismiss that as implausible and accuse police of systematic executions and cover-ups that President Rodrigo Duterte not only refuses to investigate, but tacitly supports.

Duterte and the police have repeatedly rejected that and say there is no evidence to support such allegations.

Delos Santos’ death sparked a big protest and led to Duterte briefly suspending police operations in October.

Two months later, however, he ordered police to resume raids and sting operations. Some 46 deaths have been reported in a two-month period ending Feb. 5, based on official reports.

Duterte has frequently praised police who kill drug dealers and promised to pardon any officers who are jailed. However, he has lambasted the men accused of killing the teenager and promised his family justice.

Murder Charges in Philippine Police Case That Ignited Anger Over Drug War

January 29, 2018

The New York Times

January 29, 2018

Image may contain: 1 person, crowd and wedding

The funeral of Kian Loyd delos Santos in Manila in August. His death ignited public anger at President Rodrigo Duterte’s antidrug campaign. Credit Francis R. Malasig/European Pressphoto Agency
MANILA — The Philippine Justice Department filed murder charges on Monday against three police officers in the death of a 17-year-old boy last year, a case that strengthened opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.

The officers — Arnel Oares, Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz — were charged in a lower court in Caloocan City, north of Manila, along with an informant who had erroneously identified the boy, Kian Loyd delos Santos, as a drug pusher.

Witnesses had described seeing Mr. delos Santos being dragged away by the officers and finding his body slumped over near a pigsty. That contradicted statements by the police officers, who said the boy had pulled a gun, setting off a shootout in which he died.

The teenager’s death in August ignited public anger and his funeral procession became a protest led by the influential Catholic Church and activists who denounced Mr. Duterte’s drug crackdown.

About 4,000 people accused of being drug pushers and addicts have died since Mr. Duterte took office in 2016, according to police statistics. Philippine rights groups and Human Rights Watch, however, say the number is much higher — about 12,000 people.

Image may contain: 7 people

From left, Arnel Oares, Jerwin Cruz and Jeremias Pereda were charged in the killing of Mr. delos Santos. Credit Noel Celis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Because of the anger and protests that arose from Mr. delos Santos’s killing, Mr. Duterte removed the police as the lead agency in the crackdown and installed a civilian-led drug enforcement office.

That move turned out to be temporary. In December, Mr. Duterte reinstated the police to lead the drug war.

In filing the charges on Monday, the Justice Department cited witnesses who said they had seen Mr. delos Santos dragged away and shot at close range.

The department said forensic evidence showed, in “an indisputable conclusion,” that Mr. delos Santos gad been shot while in a “somewhat kneeling” or “fetal” position.

The department added that the testimonies showed that “there was no unlawful aggression on the part of Kian during the time he was shot and killed.” It also cast doubt on the officers’ assertion that the killing occurred in the course of a legitimate drug operation.

Thirteen other officers who took part in the drug sweep in Mr. delos Santos’s neighborhood were cleared. The Justice Department said that the commander of the local police force could not be charged because there was no evidence that he had given an order to kill Mr. delos Santos.



Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling
Philippine National Police Director General


Officers charged in Philippine teen’s drug war ‘murder’


© AFP/File | Classmates of Kian delos Santos light candles at his wake in August 2017

MANILA (AFP) – Three Philippine police officers and an informer were charged Monday with murdering a teenager in a case which highlighted alleged extrajudicial killings during President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs war.Authorities say they have killed 3,987 suspects in “self-defence” in anti-drug operations since Duterte came to power in mid-2016.

An unspecified number of people had also been killed by unknown suspects in 2,235 “drug-related incidents”.

Kian delos Santos, 17, was shot dead during a night-time anti-drug sweep by Manila police last year.

Police had alleged the boy was a drug dealer who fired at them while resisting arrest. But investigators concluded he did not fire a gun and CCTV footage showed him being dragged near his home by two of the accused officers.

The charge sheet against the four said the killing showed premeditation.

“The obvious fact that some of the respondents were seen wearing masks and caps, indicates that they intended to hide their identity and utilise the darkness to carry out their plan.”

The four defendants were also charged with planting a firearm on the victim, while two of the officers were additionally charged with making an illegal search of the victim’s home.

However the justice department investigators decided against filing charges of torture against the four.

It also dismissed murder, torture and illegal search complaints against 13 other Manila police officers who were part of the August 16, 2017 operation, both for lack of sufficient evidence.

Filipinos have mostly backed Duterte’s drug war even as critics warned the killing of thousands may amount to a crime against humanity.

But the death of Delos Santos, as well as of two other Manila teenagers accused of robbing a taxi driver last year, have triggered rare street protests and highlighted concerns about police abuse.

It led to Duterte briefly suspending police participation in the drug crackdown for a second time.

The first occasion was in January last year after narcotics police officers were arrested for the kidnapping and murder of a South Korean businessman in 2016.

However in both instances the police were reinstated in the campaign without major reforms.

Philippine police chief says cops will return to war on drugs — Human rights groups accuse police of carrying out illegal killings, staging crime scenes and falsifying reports

January 12, 2018

MANILA (Reuters) – Police anti-narcotics operations notorious for their deadly outcomes could make a comeback in the Philippines’ war on drugs, although bloodshed should be avoided and abuses would not be tolerated, the country’s police chief said on Friday.

Image result for Ronald Dela Rosa, photos

Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald dela Rosa. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

“Oplan Tokhang”, where police visit homes of users and dealers and seek their surrender, could resume within a few weeks and should be free of violence if suspects agree to go quietly, police chief Ronald Dela Rosa said.

His remarks are the strongest sign in months of a re-intensification of a war on drugs that has lost considerable momentum since President Rodrigo Duterte ordered police to halt operations and let the undermanned drugs enforcement agency, PDEA, run his signature campaign.

Nearly 4,000 Filipinos have been killed by police in the drugs war since June 2016. Human rights groups accuse police of carrying out illegal killings, staging crime scenes and falsifying reports, a charge they vigorously deny.

“Tokhang should actually be bloodless because the spirit of Tokhang, if implemented properly is ‘knock and plead’,” Dela Rosa told reporters.

He was advocating for its return but did not state a reason.

The “Tokhang” approach sees officers knock on doors of homes of suspected drug users or dealers to convince them to surrender or be rehabilitated. Another widely used approach by police is a so-called “buy-bust” or sting operation.

Activists say in many cases, suspects were not given a chance to give up, and were instead executed in cold blood.

Police reject that and typically say the victims were killed because they violently resisted arrest. They cite more than 117,000 drugs-related arrests as evidence of their intent to preserve life.

Dela Rosa said abuses had taken place but referred only to officers soliciting bribes to remove names of suspects from lists they had compiled.

He said an oversight committee would be set up and if resources were available, police involved in sting operations would be equipped with body cameras.

“This time around we will ensure it will be properly implemented and those who will commit abuses would be made accountable,” he added.

Duterte announced the suspension of police anti-drugs operations on Oct. 11 last year, without specifying exactly why. He later said he hoped that would satisfy activists he called “bleeding hearts”, and interfering western states.

Duterte and his aides have, however, voiced concern about drugs returning to the streets due to a lack of manpower with police on the sidelines.

At present, police are allowed to assist PDEA operations, but not lead their own.

Radio reports of drugs-related killings in recent months have been less frequent than previously.

It is not immediately clear how many people have been killed in drugs-related incidents in the Philippines since Oct. 11. A spokesman for PDEA on Friday said the agency had no data on casualties over that period.

Reporting by Martin Petty, Karen Lema and Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Michael Perry

Philippines Police Chief Proudly Scolds Families of Slain — “Do Not Distrust Our Scene of the Crime Operatives”

January 2, 2018
PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa assured the families of the victims of the shooting incident in Mandaluyong City last week that justice will be served. AP/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines — Following the release of paraffin test results on the victims and policemen involved in a shooting Mandaluyong City last week, PNP Chief Bato dela Rosa assured the family of victims that the results are scientifically proven.

Jonalyn Ambaan, one of the casualties in the shooting incident believed to be a case of mistaken identity, tested positive for gunpowder burns.

“Please do not doubt the credibility of our SOCO,” Dela Rosa told the family of Ambaan in a televised press briefing.

A witness said that he did not see Ambaan holding a gun during the incident, according to reports. Dela Rosa, however, explained that testing positive for gunpowder nitrates does not necessarily mean that they used firearms.

The police chief stressed that the SOCO would not alter the results of the paraffin test as they follow a code of ethics.

“Kung mag-isip sila na nilagyan ng powder ‘yung biktima para palabasin na positive, never in my wildest imagination na gagawin ‘yan ng taga-SOCO,” Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa, meanwhile, defended the Mandaluyong cops who were only performing their duties but responded to false information. He added that the barangay watchmen were the first to fire their guns and then “all hell broke loose.”

“They did not act with ill intent… Nagoyo sila sa maling impormasyon,” Dela Rosa said.

Arrest barangay watchmen with firearms

Stressing that barangay watchmen are not authorized to hold firearms, Dela Rosa ordered the police to arrest all tanods who carry guns.

“First of all, itong mga tanod na ito they are not authorized to carry guns kaya right now I am giving instructions to all members of the PNP hulihin n’yo lahat ng tanod d’yan na armado,” he said.

Dela Rosa clarified that the police appreciate the assistance that barangay watchmen provide in maintaining peace and order in their communities but they cannot be tolerated if they violate the law.

A city prosecutor has ordered the detention of nine policemen and two barangay watchmen involved in the shooting incident in Mandaluyong which left two people dead and two others wounded.

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]


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)



Ted Regencia


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

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


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

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:
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook


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

Philippine National Police Chief Who Engineered “Drug War” Killings Says He Will Raise Reirement Pensions “If Elected President” — “I will quadruple your pay”

October 30, 2017
“Hintayin ninyo maging presidente si Bato. Gawin kong quadruple ‘yung sweldo ninyo,” PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa told police retirees.  Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday assured his retired colleagues that their pension would be increased if he becomes president, hinting at a possible future bid for the top post of the land.

The police chief made the statement following complaints from police retirees that they are being left out of the planned pay increase next year.

“Hintayin ninyo maging presidente si Bato. Gawin kong quadruple ‘yung sweldo ninyo,” Dela Rosa said referring to himself in the third person, according to a video posted by radio dzMM. (“Just wait that Bato becomes president, I will quadruple your pay.

Dela Rosa, who is up for retirement in January 2018, added that they are still crafting a proposal to include retirees in the planned compensation adjustment for military and uniformed personnel.

RELATED: Leni on ‘political ambition’: I don’t even have mascots, standees

“Pinag-aaralan pa what is the best option na lahat tayo makikinabang sa intention na tumaas ang sweldo,” Dela Rosa said. (“I’m still studying how all of us will benefit from the plan to hike pay.”)

The PNP chief, however, said that they have not yet submitted a position paper to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as active policemen are the priority.

Last month, the Congress came up with a draft joint resolution doubling the base pay of a police officer 1 in the PNP, the most junior rank equivalent to a private in the Department of National Defense and related government agencies.

The proposal also covers personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Public Safety College, Philippine Coast Guard and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.

The Office of the President had concurred with the draft resolution that the DBM had prepared.

If signed by both houses of Congress, a PO1 will enjoy a 100-percent increase in monthly base pay from P14,834 pesos to P29,668.

Before Dela Rosa made an informal announcement of a possible presidential bid, he advised Vice President Leni Robredo, who has repeatedly denied wanting to become president, to set aside her ambition and instead support President Rodrigo Duterte.

“If she wants to be president, she can try but she should let the current administration and the president finish the job,” the police chief previously said in Filipino.  — Patricia Lourdes Viray

RELATED: 100% pay hike for soldiers, cops in 2018

European Union says Philippines rights situation worsened due to drug war — Are Duterte and Dela Rosa “War Criminals in the War on Drugs”?

October 23, 2017

Image may contain: 3 people

Philippine President Duterte (l) announces that Filipino troops have ended the uprising of Islamist rebels in Marawi


Posted at Oct 23 2017 04:53 PM

MANILA – The human rights situation in the Philippines worsened in the second half of 2016 under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the latest European Union Annual Report on Human Rights And Democracy.

In the 2016 report that was adopted by the council last week, October 16, the EU noted some positive developments, particularly in peace negotiations with rebels and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“Positive developments under the government of President Duterte include the new momentum provided to the Mindanao Peace Process, peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front and a socio-economic agenda aimed at lifting people out of poverty,” the EU report said.

On the other hand, it said: “Despite positive developments in some areas, the human rights situation in the second half of the year has considerably worsened as a consequence of the so-called ‘war on drugs.'”

The Philippines has defended a surge in killings since Rodrigo Duterte was elected president last year.

On Monday Duterte said he will take a hands-off approach on the war on drugs after ordering the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to take the lead in the war on drugs.

The Philippine National Police has also said there have been no extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration.

The EU report said that while there was a decrease in the number of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration, there was no follow-up and key legislative measures were not passed until Duterte assumed office and launched the war on drugs.

“Various problems – in particular the culture of impunity and torture –remain, however, and a series of key legislative measures were not passed. The second half of the year was marked by a serious deterioration in respect for the right to life, due process and the rule of law,” it added.

Image result for Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, photos

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa

The report also said that President Duterte’s statements “seemingly encouraged” the police to be aggressive in dealing with drug suspects. It also cited human rights advocates’ statement saying Duterte’s pronouncements encouraged vigilante killings.

Meanwhile, it was also mentioned that EU’s Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines as no. 4 in the world on the Global Impunity Index in 2016, adding that killings of human rights defenders and media workers remain largely unresolved

“Duterte has made statements justifying the killing of ‘corrupt’ journalists and human rights defenders. On the other hand, he has issued a landmark ‘Freedom of Information Order’ and has recently created a Presidential Task Force on Violence against Media Workers,” the report said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano recently said the Philippines will stop accepting grants from the EU following a statement of President Duterte.

“The whole point of his speech is we have a problem on drugs, but certain groups are giving wrong facts, fake news. Sinisiraan tayo all over the world, so that’s why he’s decided na sa ngayon hindi tatanggapin ang bagong grants from the EU,” Cayetano said.

Filipino relatives mourn on the remains of Ephraim Escudero, who was a victim of extra judicial killing, during burial rites at a cemetery in San Pedro city, Laguna province, Philippines, 30 September 2017

Filipino relatives mourn on the remains of Ephraim Escudero, who was a victim of extra judicial killing, during burial rites at a cemetery in San Pedro city, Laguna province, Philippines, 30 September 2017. CREDIT: EPA

According to the Philippine National Police, there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017. Despite this, the authorities claim that there has only been one extrajudicial victim under the current administration. AFP/Noel Celis
Three of five Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, the Social Weather Stations said in its latest survey. AFP/Noel Celis
Photos 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. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal


Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer


Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

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

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

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.”

Image result for Boy Cruz, philippine policeman, photos

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

 (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: 2 people, 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