Duterte gov't serious about filing cases vs abusive cops – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines – Police personnel who abuse their authority in the name of the Duterte adminstration's "war on drugs" will face criminal charges, Chief Presidential Counsel Salvaldor Panelo said on Friday, August 26.
"If there is probable cause, this government will be filing cases of murder against these abusive police authorities," Panelo said in a chance interview with Palace reporters.
Proof of the government's commitment, he said, is the filing of criminal charges against two policemen in Pasay City over the death of drug suspect JP Bertes and his father.
WATCH: Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo: Duterte gov't to file cases vs abusive police in #WarOnDrugs pic.twitter.com/kQzrySpXMg— Pia Ranada (@piaranada) August 26, 2016
"It only shows this government is not tolerating abuses of policemen in the course of [making an] arrest," Panelo said.
The statement is a departure from President Rodrigo Duterte's earlier assurance to police that he would grant them a presidential pardon, if they are convicted of charges stemming from operations against criminals.
Panelo maintained that the recent vigilante-style killings are perpetrated by drug syndicates themselves in an effort to cleanse their ranks of those who might squeal on their illegal operations.
Among those who have been attacked are drug suspects in police lists. One of them is Maximo Garcia, the grandfather of the 5-year-old girl killed by gunmen who attacked his home 4 days after he surrendered to Dagupan City police in Pangasinan.
Amidst a warning by the Commission on Human Rights that the International Criminal Court may probe the drug war if the mysterious killings don't stop, Panelo said there is no need for such an investigation.
Probes by various bodies are already underway in the Philippines with the participation of the Philippine National Police.
"There is a Senate investigation and a Commission on Human Rights investigation. Another investigation is not needed. It's being done. The Palace has ordered the PNP to investigate these extrajudicial killings," said Panelo.
So far, some 700 supposed drug suspected have been killed in the government's anti-drug operations, according to the PNP.
The PNP is also investigating 899 cases of vigilante-style killings or mysterious drug-related deaths.
Duterte has said he will take responsibility for all killings that take place in the course of government anti-drug operations but that it is "stupid" to blame his government for vigilante-style killings he claims are the work of drug syndicates or other criminals. – Rappler.com