Dela Rosa clar­i­fies re­marks on Reuters

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PHILIP­PINE Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) chief Ronald Dela Rosa said he did not ac­cuse wire news agency Reuters of con­spir­ing with the drug lords in or­der to de­stroy the po­lice or­ga­ni­za­tion amid the ad­min­is­tra­tion's war on drugs.

“Wala akong sin­abing ga­nun na (I didn't say that) they are in ca­hoots sa (with the) drug lords. Hindi ko sin­abi na in ca­hoots yung Reuters, ma­matay man ako, putulin mo leeg ko. Tag­pasin ko leeg kung sin­abi ko ‘yan na yung Reuters in ca­hoots sa mga drug lords. Wala akong sin­abing ga­nun (I'll put my neck on the line. I didn't say any­thing like that),” he said in a ra­dio in­ter­view on Wed­nes­day evening.

“Wala man ako sinasabi, kinu-ques­tion ko ‘yung tim­ing. So kung wala silang pakialam sa tim­ing bakit sila na­gre-re­act. Ti­natanong ko lang na­man yung tim­ing (I was just ques­tion­ing the tim­ing of the re­lease of their re­port. If they didn't care about the tim­ing, why did they re­act?)” he added.

He was re­fer­ring to the lat­est Reuters re­port, "Op­er­a­tion Kill," about an op­er­a­tion by the Manila Po­lice District on Oc­to­ber 11 that re­sulted in the al­leged ex­e­cu­tion of three men, in­clud­ing an 18-year-old teenager, in Tondo, Manila. The re­port in­cluded videos from sur­veil­lance cam­eras that cap­tured the en­tire op­er­a­tion, which was con­ducted a day af­ter the po­lice were stripped of its lead role in the gov­ern­ment's anti-nar­cotics cam­paign.

The Na­tional Union of Jour­nal­ists of the Philip­pines (NUJP) had Dela Rosa to apol­o­gize for his “ut­terly asi­nine” re­marks against Reuters.

Dela Rosa ques­tioned the tim­ing of the re­lease of the re­port and said the drugs lords may be us­ing their “con­nec­tions” to en­sure that the po­lice are not brought back to the cam­paign against il­le­gal drugs.

“Alam ko ang drug lords may mga ef­forts ta­laga, they are not tak­ing this sit­ting down. This is a multi-bil­lion peso in­dus­try itong drugs, ha­hanap ng paraan, mag­bayad ‘yan sa mga pulis, nag­bibi­gay nga sa mga piskal, may mga chance nga nababa­yaran. That's re­al­ity. Didiskarte ta­laga ‘yung mga drug lords para sir­aan yung mga pulis kasi ‘yan ang pinakakal­a­ban nila ngayon sa kani­lang negosyo (They will find ways, pay off any­body to show the po­lice in bad light),” he said.

Ear­lier, Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion Po­lice Of­fice (NCRPO)

di­rec­tor Os­car Al­bay­alde said the Oc­to­ber 11 in­ci­dent has al­ready been cleared by the barangay of­fi­cials who joined the po­lice dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to the Reuters re­port, Ar­lene Gibaga, widow of one of the sus­pects, said the three men were un­armed when they were shot.

They also ob­tained a CCTV footage show­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer turn­ing away the CCTV cam­era in the area dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

Al­bay­alde said the PNP-In­ter­nal Af­fairs Ser­vice is con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion on the in­ci­dents and has, so far, not found any ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has been float­ing the idea of bring­ing the po­lice back at the fore­front of the anti-drugs cam­paign. Dela Rosa has said they were ready and would im­me­di­ately pro­ceed at full speed, but with ex­treme cau­tion.

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