Posts Tagged ‘Ronald dela Rosa’

Philippines: 7 killed, 811 arrested in Holy Week drug ops

April 2, 2018
By: – Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
 / 11:40 AM April 02, 2018
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Seven individuals were killed while 811 others were arrested in the five-day Holy Week anti-illegal drugs operations of the police force, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa disclosed on Monday.

“There was no letup in our anti-drug operations during the Lenten Season,” De la Rosa said in a press conference.

He noted that the PNP conducted 505 anti-illegal drugs operations nationwide from Holy Wednesday to Easter Sunday or March 28 to April 1.

Of the seven people killed, four were from Region 3; and one each from Region 4-A, Region 12, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the PNP chief said.

But De la Rosa did not mention the circumstances that led to the killing of the seven drug suspects.

Often, however, police would say that drug suspects were killed as they fought back law enforcers during anti-drug operations.

De la Rosa also said there were no Tokhang operations during the Holy Week in keeping with the PNP’s commitment that its house-to-house visits to drug suspects would only be conducted during office hours starting last January.

The so-called war on drugs is being subjected to a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity committed by Mr. Duterte for supposedly directing police to carry out the ruthless campaign that purportedly victimized mostly the poor.

Earlier this year, the PNP reported that 65 drug suspects were killed from December 5, 2017 to February 14 after Duterte ordered the police back at the helm of the government’s anti-drug drive. Duterte briefly tasked the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to lead the campaign.

Also during Monday’s press conference, the PNP highlighted the social reintegration program for the drug surrenderers with De la Rosa receiving P1.5 million worth of donations in cash and livelihood starter tools.

To benefit from these donations were the community-based reformation centers initiated by the PNP and supported by the local government units, and other volunteers.

The Rotary Club of Camp Crame, led by its president, Police Director Ramon Puruganan, PNP Director for Comptrollership, under the club’s “Katok sa Puso Advocacy Program,” donated P500,000.

The other P500,000 came from proceeds of the 1st Chief PNP Run “Takbo Kontra Droga,” which was initiated by the Police Community Relations Group in partnership with Run Manila and other non-government organizations (NGOs).

The livelihood starter tools worth another P500,000 were donated by 7-11 convenience stores, the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Funds, Inc. (PSMBFI), Globe Telecom, Police Cavalier Association, Inc. (PCAI), and 37 other different NGOs affiliated with the Association of Chiefs of Police of the Philippines, Inc. /kga

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Philippines: Charges Against Drug Dealer Dismissed But National Police Chief Vows “Police Will Run After You”

March 19, 2018
By: – Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
 / 01:53 PM March 19, 2018

After a Department of Justice (DOJ) panel controversially dismissed the drug complaint against suspected drug lords due to weak evidence, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa gave on Monday a stern warning to self-confessed drug trader Kerwin Espinosa: police would still run after you.

“Naisahan talaga kami. Ikaw, Kerwin, naisahan mo kami ngayon ha. You cannot [fool] us all the time. Sometimes we will be the one to [fool] you,” Dela Rosa said in a press briefing.

(We really were fooled. You, Kerwin, you fooled us this time. You cannot fool us all the time. But someday, we will be the one to fool you.)

It was unclear, however, how they would come after Espinosa, who is currently at the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

According to Dela Rosa, after Espinosa admitted before the Senate that he was into drug trading, the self-confessed drug dealer had refused to give his affidavit to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

“Noong nailipat na siya doon sa NBI, wala na, ayaw na magbigay ng statement. Tumigas na ulo,” he said.

(When he was transferred to the NBI custody, he no longer wanted to issue a statement. He would not cooperate. What do want me to do with him?)

“Ano gusto niyo gawin ko sa kanya? Ipa-barang ko siya? Hindi ako ma-charge ng EJK [extrajudicial killing] niyan,” he added.

(What do you want me to do with him? You want me to hex him? I would not be charged with EJK with that.)

Dela Rosa admitted members of the PNP were frustrated and demoralized because of the dismissal of the CIDG complaint against Espinosa, alleged drug lord Peter Lim, and several others.

“Sino bang masaya? Malungkot nga ‘yung ordinaryong tao na nanonood lang sa TV na inaamin ni Kerwin Espinosa na isang drug lord, kami pa kaya na naglel-abor diyan?” he said.

(Who is happy with what happened? The ordinary people were frustrated as they watched Kerwin Espinosa admitted that he was a drug lord, how much more the PNP who work hard on that case?)

“Araw-gabi walang tulog ‘yung imbestigador ko, ‘yung mga operatives ko para mangalap ebidensiya, masaya kami? Hindi kami masaya,” he added.

(My investigators, my operatives have been working day and night; lose sleep just to get evidence. Are we happy? No we’re not happy.)

In December, the DOJ panel of prosecutors dismissed the CIDG complaint against the suspected drug lords purportedly due to weak evidence.

Dela Rosa said the DOJ should have had given them a heads up that the case would be dismissed, noting they were bound by their conscience to do it because it was a crucial part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

READ: Fiscals should have told CIDG of weak case vs Espinosa, et al. — Bato

He noted that the dismissal would serve as an “eye-opener” for the PNP to improve on its investigation skills.

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At a time when the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been committing widespread rights violations without accountability, granting further powers to act without judicial authorization is a recipe for disaster

March 14, 2018


Black letter, dark times

 / 05:10 AM March 14, 2018

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

On paper, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. The principal author of the new law allowing three officials of the Philippine National Police to issue subpoenas justified it on grounds of more effective policing.

In sponsoring the measure that eventually became Republic Act No. 10973, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, famously a former PNP chief himself, called for the return of a set of powers once exercised by the police.

“It seems absurd that the Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU), now known as the CIDG [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group], with a mandate to undertake monitoring, investigation and prosecution of all crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly-placed or professional syndicates and organization, has lost its subpoena powers.”

And on paper, it doesn’t seem to make as much sense to provide an agency tasked with “monitoring, investigation and prosecution” of major crimes like the National Bureau of Investigation with subpoena powers and to withdraw the same powers from the PNP’s CIDG.

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Philippine National Police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during the announcement of the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 29, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Aside from the NBI, other agencies of the government, including the chambers of Congress, the Department of Justice, the Ombudsman and of course the courts, could issue subpoenas compelling the appearance of persons and of subpoenas duces tecum compelling the presentation of material of interest to an investigation.

The black letter of the law, however, must be read in context — and in the context of both recent history and the turbulent present — the grant of subpoena powers to the PNP has rightly set the Spidey-sense of human rights advocates tingling.

“At a time when the PNP has been committing widespread rights violations without accountability in the war on drugs, granting the police further powers to act without judicial authorization is a recipe for disaster,” Carlos Conde of Human Rights Watch said.

We are, after all, talking about the same Philippine National Police whose conduct of the government’s signature antidrugs campaign has been suspended twice because of public outcry over truly scandalous killings.

We are talking about the same organization which changed its definition of Kipo, suspects killed in police operations, and invented a new category of killings, DUI or death under investigation, to manage public anxiety over the campaign, only to finally decline to yield the information on campaign-related killings to the Supreme Court.

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The ones we need to hear from are mostly dead….

We are talking about the same government agency which receives high satisfaction ratings overall but on specific issues, such as whether it is telling the truth when its police officers say suspects in the antidrugs campaign were killed because they fought back, generates very little trust from the public.

Not least, we are talking about a set of powers enjoyed by a police organization disbanded after the Edsa People Power Revolution and replaced by the PNP because its very initials, PC, short for the Philippine Constabulary, were code for rampant corruption and pervasive abuse.

The horrors of our history under martial rule, and the conduct of an antidrugs campaign which, no matter which statistics one cites, qualifies as a calamitous bloodletting, justify these expressions of alarm.

Even PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa acknowledges that the law, which grants subpoena powers to the PNP chief, the director of the CIDG, and the CIDG’s deputy director for administration, is not as simple as it reads on paper.

Rather than embracing the new law as a validation of his command of the PNP or his control of the antidrugs campaign or the President’s vote of confidence in him, having extended his term twice, a subdued Dela Rosa said: “I will not use it. While the CIDG is there, I will not use that. Maybe you’ll say I will use that against the political enemies of the Duterte administration? … Tell them, rest assured I will never use it while the CIDG is functioning.”

This is proof, perhaps unintentionally provided, that the context in which the measure became law is, or rather remains, a real problem.

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© Noel Celis, AFP | A Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent secures part of a street holding residents temporarily during a drug raid in Maharlika Village, Taguig, south of Manila on February 28, 2018.

Philippines unable to end drug war this way — Prosecutions down — Rape, robbery, and theft are down, but murder is up — Does something smell wrong here?

March 13, 2018

GOTCHA – Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) – March 14, 2018 – 12:00am

President Rodrigo Duterte won’t ever win his war on drugs. Not with the way his underlings are doing it.

In one blow prosecutors cleared three of the eight biggest drug lords in Duterte’s hit list. Exonerated of narco-trafficking were Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, Peter Co, and 20 of their henchmen.

People closely monitoring the drug issue smelled something fishy.

Prosecutors had things all wrapped up for them. Espinosa had confessed in a televised Senate hearing to narco-trading. Lim had surrendered in 2016 to Duterte no less. Co already is imprisoned for life for kidnapping. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has dossiers on them as the top shabu (meth) producers in the Visayas and Luzon. A solid case would have been built.

Presumably it wasn’t rushed. State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Aristotle Reyes had ample months to determine probable cause, and Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. to approve. It would be up for automatic review by Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre, Duterte’s legal point man in the drug war. Lawyer-senator Richard Gordon is pessimistic. “(Aguirre) has dismissed too many,” he said of cases that the chamber had looked into. Among those was the murder rap against police Supt. Marvin Marcos for killing Kerwin’s jailed mayor-father Rolando Espinosa. Also, multiple ones against ex-Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon in connection with the smuggling of 604 kilos of shabu worth P6.5 billion at the Manila port.

The justice department claimed to have no choice but to drop the drug charge. The sole witness Marcelo Adorco was deemed unbelievable. His narratives were inconsistent and defied human nature. He lied about the years of his drug dealings with Lim and Co as Espinosa’s trusty. Prosecutors gave credence to Lim’s claim to never have been to Bangkok, where Adorco said he and Espinosa met in 2013.

The prosecutors blamed the police investigators for the flimsy case. No circumstantial evidence backed up Adorco’s testimony.

What went wrong? Did not the PNP’s crack Criminal Investigation and Detection Group handle it? Was it not the CIDG’s elite Major Crimes Investigation Unit that processed the evidence? Why the major flaw then?

The dragnet for the Espinosa father and son was well publicized. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa had assigned Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido as police chief of Albuera, Leyte to pin them down. Kerwin fled abroad. Mayor Rolando barricaded himself in his mansion. Espenido’s men arrested Adorco in a buy-bust, and slew six Espinosa bodyguards in a gun battle. Raiding Kerwin’s adjacent house they found a black book of political and police-military protectors, wads of cash, and other evidence. The older Espinosa turned himself in. The Interpol nabbed Kerwin in Abu Dhabi.

From all that emerged many police reports, eyewitness accounts, and physical evidence. Why did the cops file a case based solely on the story of one suspect-turned-witness?

That the rap was dismissed as far back as Dec. but was disclosed only this week makes it all the more suspicious. Why the secrecy in such a high-profile case?

Many things can happen during mysterious time lags. Espinosa and Co are state witnesses in the drug case against Sen. Leila de Lima. Aside from United Nations and European rights advocates calling for her release, what has happened to that rap? Two of Espinosa’s lawyers were assassinated in Aug. 2017 and last month. Has the police identified any suspects? Peter Lim is a compadre (wedding cosponsor) of Duterte, dela Rosa has told the Senate. Despite Duterte’s declaration to want to personally kill him, have others begun to treat Lim differently?

All this consequently tell on the credibility of Duterte’s drug war. That war started with daily police visits to pusher-addicts’ homes to tell them to desist. Two million of them surrendered to barangay halls, but were sent home because there simply are not enough jails, rehab clinics, and soup kitchens to house and feed them. There also were nightly killings of violent resistors in police raids. Local and world leaders took notice of reports that more than 7,000 had been slain within a year, which the PNP corrected as “only” 3,500.

Duterte at first said he would finish the war in six months. Later admitting it wasn’t as easy as what he did as mayor of Davao City, he extended his deadline to one, then two years. Now he’s saying it would take his entire term.

How can Duterte lick drugs when his men are quick only to eliminate shabu street peddlers but not the billionaire manufacturers? The 604 kilo-P6.5-billion confiscated shabu was only 15 percent of the contraband. Authorities have no clue about the 85 percent, or 3,423 kilos worth P36.8 billion?

Vigilante justice has taken over. With Duterte’s men unable to wage drug war properly, assassins are punishing the suspects. Only three days ago one of Espinosa’s co-accused henchmen, Max Miro, was slain by motorcycling gunmen. During the hunt for Espinosa, Miro had been caught with three kilos of shabu, but no charges were filed against him for that.

The PNP brags that index crimes like rape, robbery, and theft are down, but that murder is up. As if that is comforting.



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 FILE photo: Police stand around the body of an alleged drug dealer, who was killed last year as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs. Photo: AFP

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

We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)


Philippines: Something ‘sinister’ behind National Police Chief’s prolonged term — Duterte’s propensity to reward officials who follow his fascist orders

February 21, 2018

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa’s tour of duty may be extended by another three months. President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier prolonged the term of Dela Rosa for three months to introduce reforms in Mindanao.


Gaea Katreena Cabico ( – February 21, 2018 – 11:54am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV believes there is something “sinister” behind the chief executive’s decision to prolong the term of one of his most trusted men, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

In an interview on ANC’s “Early Edition,” Trillanes called on the public to be vigilant following the announcement of Dela Rosa’s indefinite term extension.

“There must be something sinister behind it. There is a diabolical plot behind it […] They’re creeping and soon enough, we just might lose our democracy,” he warned.
Trillanes, one of the most outspoken critics of the administration, noted that such move is reminiscent of the rule of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
“That is a blunder because Mr. Duterte should learn from the lessons of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. when he did the same. He extended the term of loyal generals so that he could secure his place in Malacañang. But it turned out to be counterproductive because it will definitely cause demoralization within the ranks,” he said.
Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Fabian Ver kept overstaying generals loyal to him and Marcos, which caused the demoralization of younger officers. It led to the establishment of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, which played a crucial role in the downfall of the Marcos dictatorial regime.
Trillanes added that there are capable senior officials who can replace Dela Rosa.

Karapatan: Duterte rewarding those who follow his orders


Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, for her part, said that Duterte’s decision “speaks of his propensity to reward officials who follow his fascist orders such as his ‘kill, kill, kill’ orders in the drug war.”
Palabay said that this would further promote the climate of impunity in the Philippines.
“This move comes as Bato has emphatically reiterated his loyalty to the president and as the body count in the drug war continues to rise, with the PNP at the helm of the campaign’s implementation,” she added.
On Tuesday, Duterte announced his decision to extend anew the term of Dela Rosa “for a little bit longer.”
“The police has always been a problem. But they are not that many. There are scoundrels, scalawags in every organization. And that is why the PNP [chief] now who’s supposed to retire on the 24th of April and because he enjoys my trust and confidence, I will extend his term for a little bit longer,” he said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Dela Rosa’s tour of duty may be extended by another three months.
Duterte had earlier prolonged the term of Dela Rosa for three months to introduce reforms in Mindanao.


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.

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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

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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.

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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.



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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.

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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.