PNP challenges rights groups to join anti-drug operations

Family members and relatives receive urns containing the ashes of drug war victims after a memorial service inside a Catholic church in Manila on November 15, 2021. The remains were exhumed from their graves after the rental of the graves at a public cemetery where they were buried expired and the relatives could not afford to continue. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News/File

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday challenged human rights groups to join its counter-narcotics operations and confront drug suspects themselves in the wake of allegations of abuse and wrongdoing.

The officer in charge of the PNP, Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao, said human rights groups should be on the front lines during operations and hold guns to understand how the “war on violence” works. dope”.

“’War on Drugs’ nga e. “Pag sinabi mong ‘war’, may mamamatay talaga diyan,” Danao said.

(It’s called the War on Drugs. If you say “war,” you should expect the dead to follow.)

“Tell human rights [groups], join me in the exploitation. Sila ang papaunahin ko. And tell me, tell me! OK, I challenge them now, ‘Mauna kayo. Kayo mismo ang humawak barrel. I challenge you,” he added.

(I’ll put them in the front line… Go first, hold a gun.)

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said more than 6,000 drug suspects were killed during legitimate police operations during the Duterte administration. Authorities say they used force after the suspects resisted arrest.

Rights advocates said the death toll could be higher, accusing authorities of carrying out summary executions that have killed even innocent people, including children.

Danao said at least 800 police died during the operations.

“Why don’t you focus on the approximately 1,000 PNP members who died in the war on drugs? …Mag-focus tayo diyan. Parang gusto niyo pulis lang ang pinapatay, ‘yung kriminal hindi? Aba’y napaka-unjust naman yata niyan,” Danao said.

(Let’s focus on that. It seems like you only like killed police officers, not criminals. That seems very unfair.)

He insisted that the police had to defend themselves when they saw that suspects were going to fight back.

“Huwag kang magpapauna (don’t let them catch you first). I would rather see a criminal, a dealer, a drug lord lying on the ground than my PNP cop on the ground,” Danao said.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in September last year approved a full investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Duterte’s war on drugs. The ICC suspended the investigation about 2 months later following a request from the Philippines, which cited their own investigations.

President Rodrigo Duterte makes no apologies for the drug crackdown, which he recently urged his successor to pursue with “stronger pressure”.

Danao said the PNP would focus on “reducing” the demand for illegal drugs in the incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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