THE Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomed the Justice department’s move to release summaries on the 52 drug war-related deaths in the country, but stressed that while there were “rotten eggs” among its ranks, they cannot outnumber those who remain true to their duty to protect and serve the Filipino people.

“Marami rin sa aming hanay ang nagbuwis ng buhay sa mga operasyong ito kaya nararapat lamang na mabigyan din sila ng hustisya sa mga maling paratang tungkol dito,” said PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday, October 21.

(Many of us have also risked their lives in these drug bust operations, so it is also right that they will be cleared from these false accusations.)

“At huwag din nating kakalimutan ang mga sakripisyo ng inyong kapulisan na nagresulta sa pagkakakumpiska ng bilyong-bilyong halaga ng mga iligal na droga,” Eleazar said.

(And let us also not forget the sacrifices of our policemen that led to the confiscation of billions worth of illegal drugs.)

The 52 cases of drug war-related deaths were reviewed by the Department of Justice’s panel to ensure transparency in the PNP’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.

Various irregularities were noted in the 52 cases that contradicted the claims of the police that the drug suspects resisted arrest, prompting them to shoot and kill them.

These included six drug suspects who police claimed to have engaged them in a gunfight but tested negative for gun powder following the investigation conducted by the Internal Affairs Service of the PNP.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will conduct a case build-up against the cops involved in the said operations to ensure that they will be held criminally liable.

“Ito rin ang pagkakataon para sa mga pamilya ng nasawi sa police anti-illegal drug operation para sila’y makapagsumite ng complaint-affidavit o kaya’y magharap ng testigo upang maisampa ang kaukulang kasong kriminal sa korte. Tinitiyak ko ang buong pakikipagtulungan ng PNP sa NBI. Walang mangyayaring takipan at ating pananagutin ang may dapat panagutan,” said Eleazar.

(This is also the chance of the families of those who died in police anti-illegal drug operation to submit a complaint affidavit or preset a witness so that charges will be filed in court. The PNP will help the NBI. There will be no whitewash and we will let them answer the charges.)

Eleazar noted both the sacrifices of policemen on the ground and the accomplishments of the campaign against illegal drugs that include the confiscation of multi-billion peso worth of illegal drugs, the neutralization of key players in the illegal drug trade in the country and the dismantling of shabu laboratories.

He said the aggressive campaign against illegal drugs also resulted in the 64 percent decrease in index crime over the last five years.

Eleazar reminded the PNP personnel to strictly and continuously follow the Police Operational Procedures in order to ensure that they would not be put in trouble in the performance of their mandate of maintaining peace and order in the country.

“Let this serves as a lesson to all our personnel that as police officers, we are law enforcers who are duty-bound to uphold the law. Tagapagpatupad tayo ng batas, hindi tayo ang batas (We are law enforcers, not the law),” he said.

“Always remember that the true courage of a police officer is measured by how he keeps his integrity and moral values intact amid the temptation and the pressure to commit abuses and disregard the rule of law,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)