Malacañang assured the public that the government will continue investigating, prosecuting, and punishing police officers who will violate the law as teenagers die in anti-drug operations.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Philippine National Police (PNP) ordered an investigation into the killing of 16-year-old Johndy Maglinte and drug suspect Antonio Dalit in a police operation in Biñan, Laguna on June 16.
In his press briefing on Monday, June 21, Roque assured the public that President Duterte was still on top of his drug war because the government will continue to go after rogue cops.
“We will investigate, prosecute, and punish those who will violate the law,” he said.
However, he said there was no need for Duterte to repeat this assurance because he was firm that he will not tolerate rogue cops.
“He (President Duterte) has been repeating it — ang pulis suportado ko kayo kung kayo po ay legal ang ginagawa. Pero kung ilegal po ginagawa niyo (he supports the police if they are doing things legally, but if not), you’re on your own,” Roque said.
Despite this, the Palace official believed that there were more good cops than rogue ones.
“There’s 240,000 PNP personnel. Siguro kung meron mga bugok (Perhaps, if there are rogue cops), they constitute the exception rather than the rule,” Roque said.
On Saturday, PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar said he has instructed Calabarzon police chief Brigadier General Eliseo Cruz and the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to finish the investigation in “the soonest time possible.”
Meanwhile, he asked the public to let the investigations take their course.
Last week, a day before the reported deaths of Maglinte and Dalit, Roque rejected suggestions that crimes against humanity were committed in the course of President Duterte’s bloody drug war, saying they were merely “collateral damage.”
In an interview with ANC’s “Rundown” on Wednesday, June 16, Roque said a crime against humanity should have a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population with the knowledge that it is being directed against them.
“The reality is the alleged killings arising from the drug war were not killings intended to target civilians as such,” he said.
“They were collateral damage so to speak arising from a valid police operation to deal with the growing threat of drugs,” he added.
Meanwhile, Roque asked them to file complaints if they feel they were victims of abuses.
“If there’s anyone who feels that they are victims, the President has repeatedly said that he will not countenance police action that violates the law but will support them when they’re on the right,” he said.