Top cop hails drug war ‘momentum’
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. –
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.