Conviction of 3 cops in teen’s murder doesn’t affect overall PNP morale — spokesperson

Published December 1, 2018, 3:44 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Martin Sadongdong 

The overall morale of the 180,000-strong men of the Philippine National Police (PNP) remains high despite the recent conviction of three cops in the murder of 17-year-old Kian Lloyd delos Santos in 2017, a ranking police official disclosed.

Philippine National Police Spokesperson Senior Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)
Philippine National Police Spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr.
(Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

However, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., PNP spokesperson, admitted that the conviction of Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda, and PO1 Jerwin Cruz was a “setback” for the police organization.

“No,” Durana shortly said when asked if the conviction would affect the morale of other police officers and the way they implement the drug war.

“Definitely, this [is] probably a setback but at the same time, we are equally telling our people, and as expressed time and again by the Commander-in-Chief, that he will be fully supportive of police personnel who are doing their jobs within the bounds of the law. But those who are doing their jobs outside of the bounds of the law, we are equally hard against them and we filed cases against them,” he explained.

Durana said the PNP will still continue waging a “chilling and relentless” war on drugs despite the setback upon the orders of the country’s top cop, Director General Oscar Albayalde.

“The statement of the Chief PNP is very clear: that this will not deter or cause us to waver a bit in our resolve to wage our intensified campaign against illegal drugs,” Durana pointed out.

“At the same time, we are also reaffirming our commitment to our frontline personnel that the PNP will be standing behind them as they toil in the war on drugs but while upholding the constitutional rights of citizens even of the accused,” he added.

The PNP spokesperson also appealed to the public not to perceive Delos Santos’ case as the overall reflection of how the administration’s war on drugs is being carried out.

“This is not a perfect world. Any system is not perfect. This may be the case [with Delos Santos] but this case doesn’t define the whole picture on the way we wage our campaign against illegal drugs,” Durana said.

Instead, he said Delos Santos’ case should serve as a reminder for police officers to always consider the rule of law and respect human rights when conducting law enforcement operations, especially anti-illegal drug ones.

Oares, Pereda and Cruz were convicted of killing Delos Santos in 2017 by the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court Branch 125 on Thursday.

Aside from a criminal charge, an administrative charge was also filed against them and Durana said the investigation is still ongoing.

From July 1, 2016 to October 31, 2018, a total of 4,999 suspects have already been killed in police operations — all of whom, except Delos Santos, were said to have fought back and “resisted” arrest.