Dela Rosa clarifies remarks on Reuters
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.