Dela Rosa admits: PNP should have cleansed ranks before drug war

SENATOR and former police chief Ronald dela Rosa has admitted that the Philippine National Police (PNP) should have cleansed its ranks before embarking on a war against illegal drugs.

In a podcast interview released on August 14, 2020, Dela Rosa was asked on what he would change if he were to lead the war on drugs again.

"'Yung embarking the war on drugs right away, right away without ah cleaning our ranks first. Ang ginawa kasi namin is simultaneous. War on drugs against sa mga people na involved talaga sa droga. At the same time, dito sa mga tao sa gobyerno like mga pulis, mga pulitiko (na involved sa droga). Sabay," Dela Rosa said during the PumaPodcast series "Tokhang sa Tokhang”.

"So, I think the best model should be pagka-declare namin, nilinis muna namin 'yung hanay namin. Then after that, banat sa labas. Internal cleansing muna, then external war. Internal war to external. Ang ginawa namin kasi sabay-sabay," he added.

In a virtual press conference on Monday, August 17, incumbent PNP Chief Archie Gamboa assured that fabricating anti-drugs operations is not the norm.

“Yes, it is not a norm. This has been already looked into,” Gamboa said, in reaction to the case of the kidnapping, killing and planting of evidence against six drug personalities from February 14 to 18 in San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan.

Eleven policemen have been charged in relation to the case. They had claimed that the suspects resisted arrest and engaged them in a shootout.

The National Bureau of Investigation, however, found out that the suspects were initially taken to the police station and then brought to a secluded area where they were killed.

Photos of the blindfolded suspects were circulated on social media.

Charged for the abduction and killing of the six suspects were: Major Leo Commendador dela Rosa, chief of the city Drug Enforcement Unit, and his subordinates Police Staff Sergeants Benjie Enconado, Jayson Legaspi, Irwin Yuson, Edmund Catubay Jr.; Police Corporals Jay Leoncio, Herbert Hernandez, Raymond Bayan, Raul Malgapo; and Patrolmen Erwin Sabido and Rusco Madla,

Gamboa ordered their immediate relief from post. They are under restrictive custody of the Bulacan provincial police office.

The case brought to mind the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos and 19-year-old Karl Angelo Arnaiz three years ago.

Delos Santos was shot and killed while kneeling and pleading for the police to spare his life because he had a test in school the next day.

Arnaiz was also shot and killed by the police, who had claimed that the suspect resisted arrest.

Both incidents triggered the re-opening of the Senate inquiry on the alleged extra-judicial killings under President Rodrigo Duterte administration.

Police Officer (PO) 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda, and PO1 Jerwin Cruz were convicted of murdering Delos Santos and were sentenced to reclusion perpetua, or imprisonment for 20 to 40 years, without eligibility for parole.

PO1 Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita, on the other hand, were charged with murder, torture, planting of drug evidence and planting of firearms on Arnaiz. (SunStar Philippines)


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