Top cop hails drug war ‘mo­men­tum’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE Philip­pines’ po­lice chief hailed the “mo­men­tum” in a war on crime that has claimed more than 1700 lives, as a sen­ate in­quiry heard al­le­ga­tions that se­cu­rity forces com­mit­ted mur­der and tor­ture.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte won pres­i­den­tial elec­tions by a land­slide af­ter promis­ing that tens of thou­sands of peo­ple would be killed in an un­prece­dented law-and-or­der crack­down. Se­cu­rity forces have re­lent­lessly fol­lowed his or­ders since he took of­fice on June 30.

“I ad­mit many are dy­ing but our cam­paign now has the mo­men­tum,” na­tional po­lice chief Ron­ald dela Rosa told the open­ing of a sen­ate in­quiry into the killings on Au­gust 22.

Mr dela Rosa said po­lice had killed 712 peo­ple in anti-drug op­er­a­tions since Mr Duterte came to power, and there were another 1067 deaths at the hands of un­known at­tack­ers and vig­i­lantes.

Hu­man rights groups and the United Na­tions have ex­pressed alarm at the blood­shed, warn­ing of mass ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings.

Mr Duterte and Mr dela Rosa have in­sisted the se­cu­rity forces are only act­ing in self-de­fence, while claim­ing that the un­solved deaths are due to drug gangs killing peo­ple who could im­pli­cate them.

How­ever, two of­fi­cers have been charged with mur­der over the death in cus­tody of a fa­ther and son in Manila on July 7, the lo­cal dis­trict po­lice chief told the in­quiry.

Mr dela Rosa de­scribed such abuses as “very rare”.

“Any po­lice­man found vi­o­lat­ing the law against self-de­fence will be pun­ished,” he said.

Harra Ka­zou, the part­ner of the son killed on July 7, gave tear­ful tes­ti­mony at the in­quiry al­leg­ing that he re­ported be­ing beaten at the po­lice sta­tion af­ter be­ing ar­rested the pre­vi­ous night.

“I saw how he held the jail bars. He couldn’t even stand up,” Ms Ka­zou said of her part­ner, Jaypee Bertes.

Ms Ka­zou said her part­ner was a small-time drug traf­ficker but her fa­ther-in-law was not.

The two po­lice­men claimed in an af­fi­davit they killed the men at the po­lice sta­tion be­cause the fa­ther had tried to grab one of the of­fi­cer’s guns.

But the Philip­pines’ Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights, which car­ried out an au­topsy on both vic­tims, said they had been beaten up so badly they suf­fered bro­ken limbs, and each was shot three times. –

Photo: AFP

Na­tional Po­lice di­rec­tor gen­eral Roland dela Rosa tes­ti­fies at the start of at a sen­ate in­quiry on Au­gust 22 into the spate of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings in Manila.

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