AN OFFICIAL of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) in Northern Mindanao has expressed concern over the spate of drug related killings in police operations across the region even as he called it “unusual.”
Lawyer Robert Lou Elango, chairman of the Police Regional Appellate Board of Napolcom-Northern Mindanao, said Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental have previously recorded many successful anti-illegal drug operations with less fatalities when the war on drugs was launched.
"Medyo makahatag ni og concern kay matan-aw nato nga unusual kay in terms of drug operations daghan man to pero less fatalities( It is raising concerns since it is unusual, drug operations before had less fatalities)," Elango said.
For this month alone, the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) recorded two “nanlaban” drug suspects killed while eight suspected drug personalities were killed in the province during police operations.
Elango, however, said operatives should be given the benefit of the doubt and presumption of regularity in the performance of duty on the part of the police.
"But just the same angayan tan-awon kung nasubay ba ang (it’s proper to look into if they follow) operational procedure sa police," Elango said.
Elango said the Napolcom-Northern Mindanao is waiting for the report from the police internal affairs service that conducted the motu proprio investigation on the drug-related killings.
He said the police will recommend the filing of appropriate charges should there be irregularity and administrative lapses found in the investigation.
"Ang motu proprio is an investigation even without complaints filed. Maghulat lang mi sa result sa investigation and from there mo-determine mi unsa ang action nga buhaton (We will wait for the result of the investigation, and then we will make appropriate action),"Elango said.
Elango also said the family of killed suspects may also opt to go to courts or to the Peoples Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) if they want an external body to probe the killing.
"Ang pamilya dunay katungod kung feel nila nga dunay irregularity sa operation. Pwede sila makapili kung gusto nila nga dili police ang mag-investigate duna man tay PLEB (The families have rights to file complaint if they feel there is irregularity in the operation. They can choose to file their complaints either at the police or PLEB)," he added.