Dela Rosa admits human rights violations during Duterte's drug war

MANILA. Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa.
MANILA. Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa.File photo

THERE were human rights violations committed during the bloody drug war of the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, admitted Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, ex-chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), on Thursday, June 27, 2024.

Dela Rosa said, though, that those who should be held accountable for human rights violations are the policemen involved in the operations and that each case should be looked into separately.

“We should treat each case individually…Aminado tayo diyan na merong mga kaso na talagang na-violate 'yung right ng tao kasi kung wala eh dapat hindi nakakasuhan ‘yung mga pulis na gumawa ng kalokohan. Kasi kung wala, dapat walang pulis na na-convict of nakulong,” he said during a media forum.

(We should treat each case individually... We admit that there are cases where people's rights have really been violated because if there were none, the police who did something stupid should not have been charged. Because if there isn't, there should be no police officer who has been convicted or jailed.)

"Kasi gusto nila na ila-lump lahat 'yan na gawing crimes against humanity at ipapasa sa ICC (International Criminal Court) when in truth and in fact na some of these cases pagdating pa lang sa Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed na agad ang kaso dahil through proper investigation, lalabas at lalabas na justified ‘yung ginawa ng pulis,” he added.

(Because they want to lump all of these into crimes against humanity and send them to the ICC (International Criminal Court) when in truth and in fact, some of these cases are immediately dismissed as soon as they arrive at the Department of Justice (DOJ) because through proper investigation, it will come out that what the police did was justified.)

Dela Rosa cleared Duterte of any accountability particularly on allegations that he ordered policemen to execute drug suspects.

“Bakit ang pangulo ang kailangan magpaliwanag. Pagpaliwanagin mo 'yung bawat kaso sinong involved sa bawat kaso na mayroon human rights violation na nangyari. Sinong responsible don? Yun ang pananagutin mo, pa-explain-in mo,” he said.

(Why should the president explain? The ones to explain are those involved in each case where there is a human rights violation. Who is responsible for that? That's your responsibility, explain.)

“Bakit si pangulo? Ang pangulo nasa Malacañang lang 'yan e. Gusto niya matapos ang problema natin sa droga (Why the president? The president is only in Malacañang. He wants to end our drug problem), but he is not telling you to do illegal things in order to stop the drug menace,” he added.

Dela Rosa and Duterte refused to heed the invitation of the House of Representatives committee conducting investigation on the abuses committed during the drug war.

The former top cop expressed belief that if he does, those who wanted to pin down Duterte will be ganging up on him.

But if Duterte decides to appear in the probe, he will go with him “out of love” for the former President.

The camp of Duterte earlier said he will just face all the cases that will be filed against him in court.

However, Dela Rosa said he finds the probe favorable for them as it only shows that the country’s justice system is working and that there is no need for the ICC to intervene.

The ICC is conducting an investigation on the alleged crime against humanity of murder in the Philippines related to the controversial drug war of Duterte from November 1, 2011 to March 16, 2019.

Duterte and Dela Rosa were named as principal respondents of the case.

Duterte was the mayor of Davao City from 2011 before he was elected as the president of the Republic in 2016.

Dela Rosa served as the chief implementer of the drug war, which resulted in the death of over 6,000 alleged drug personalities.

The former President ordered the withdrawal of the Philippine’s membership to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019.

The ICC is reportedly ready to issue an arrest order against Duterte and Dela Rosa.

Several policemen were facing charges before the Department of Justice over alleged irregularities in the conduct of anti-illegal drugs operations under the former administration, including the alleged planting of evidence, among others.

Just last week, four policemen were convicted of homicide in relation to the killing of a father and his son in September 2016 in Caloocan City, at the height of the drug war.

The court noted the multiple gunshots of the victims, as well as other fractures and wounds that make the accused defense that they only fired shots for self-defense “highly improbable.”

Three policemen were also sentenced to life imprisonment over the murder of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos in 2017.

Another cop was also found guilty in the murder of victims Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, days after Delos Santos was gunned down. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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