By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday insisted that no extrajudicial killings (EJKs) have been committed in the on-going campaign against illegal drugs amid the recent allegations made by the European (EU) Parliament.
The EU Parliament, in a joint resolution dated April 18, called out the Philippine government to “put an immediate end to the extrajudicial killings in the pretext of a ‘war on drugs,'” citing the 12,000 reported deaths in the bloody campaign of President Duterte.
It also expressed “grave concern” over reports that the police force “is falsifying evidence to justify extrajudicial killings, and that it is overwhelmingly the urban poor who are being targeted.”
In response, newly-installed PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde encouraged the EU Parliament to provide them the details of all the 12,000 drug-related deaths they are claiming to have been recorded.
“Unang-una, hindi natin alam kung saan nila nakita ‘yung record, ‘yung data nila na more than 12,000 yata, I think. We really do not know (First of all, we don’t know where they got their record, their data of the more than 12,000 [deaths], I think. We really do not know),” Albayalde said in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“If they can give us details doon sa sinasabi nilang 12,000 deaths, probably we will be able to check kung talagang totoo ‘yung data nila na iyon dahil napakalaki noon. Baka mamaya, bukas makalawa 20,000 na ‘yan (If they can give us details on the 12,000 deaths, probably we will be able to check if that is really true because it’s a big data. It could be 20,000 in the coming days for all we know),” he added.
The PNP said it has recorded over 4,000 deaths in the campaign against illegal drugs from July 2016 to March 2018.
Albayalde also reasoned out that even the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) cannot prove the supposed existence of EJKs since the campaign against illegal drugs started on July 1, 2016.
“Wala pa silang mapatunayan na there is EJK na nangyari magmula nang umupo ang ating Pangulo o magmula nung nag-start tayo dito sa war on drugs natin (They cannot prove that there is [an] EJK since the President assumed his post or the war on drugs started),” he explained.
The country’s top cop said the PNP has been “transparent” in its reports so the EU Parliament cannot accuse them of covering up the reports.
“They cannot accuse us because once you have reported an incident, it is covered by an official spot report. You cannot change the spot report because it goes from the station up to the national headquarters,” he said.
The PNP has been at the front of Duterte’s intense crackdown on illegal drugs. However, various local and international rights watch groups have expressed concerns over the mounting deaths of drug suspects ever since the brutal campaign started, with some even accusing the police of killing drug suspects and planting evidence.