THE Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Saturday, April 27 that the study of the Ateneo Policy Center saying that over 7,000 drug personalities have been killed in the government’s war on drugs is “totally erroneous.”
"It is totally erroneous to record more than 7,000 homicide deaths, with all sorts of possible motives including family feuds, quarrels, land disputes, accidents, stray bullets, road rage, directly as drug related incidents," PNP spokesperson Colonel Bernard Banac said.
Banac expressed doubt on the study’s sources of information but maintained that the agency respect its result.
The Ateneo Policy Center has recorded a total of 7,029 drug related deaths from May 2016 until December 2018.
It said the killing was most rampant in the National Capital Region with 2,475 reported deaths. Among the provinces, the Bulacan has recorded the most number of killings with 937 followed by Cebu with 542.
Of the figure, 4,512 people were killed after allegedly fighting it out against the police during the conduct of anti-drug operations while 2,469 were killed by assailants and the rest were bodies discovered or found.
"It is totally erroneous to record more than 7,000 homicide deaths, with all sorts of possible motives including family feuds, quarrels, land disputes, accidents, stray bullets, road rage, etc., directly as drug related incidents," a briefer on the updated data states.
However, Banac noted that in the government’s records, the “Real Number Ph,” there were only 5,281 deaths since the government launched its war on illegal drugs in July 2016 until February 28, 2019.
He also said that it is normal that the police be accused of human rights violation amid the conduct of anti-drug operations which resulted in the killing of drugs suspect.
“But as an institution, let this be known to all, that we adhere to the rule of law, respect human rights, and value life. As any organization, we are not perfect. But this has not deterred us from intensifying internal cleansing to maintain discipline among our personnel and weed out from our ranks rogues, misfits and scalawags,” said Banac.
He said since 2016, a total of 8,440 personnel have already been disciplined for various offenses and illegal acts.
Out of this number, he said 4,500 were suspended and 2,600 were dismissed from the service.
Of those dismissed, 322 were found positive of illegal drugs use and 119 either for coddling, protecting drug suspects or not attending court duties, said Banac.
“Despite this, we assure the public that the PNP remains committed to perform its mandate to enforce the law, dismantle drug syndicates, and assist the rehabilitation of drug users with transparency, and utmost respect for human rights,” he said.
“But as a dynamic organization, the PNP will always remain open to listen, and understand ways how to best serve our people. In fact, we have already introduced improvements in our law enforcement operations, such as the use of body cameras; the shift to reduction of drug supply by going after high value targets and big drug syndicates; the emphasis on adherence to rule of law and respect for human rights; and, the intensified PNP internal cleansing,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)