Azurin backs proposal to include cops in gov't witness protection program

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has expressed support over the move to include policemen in the government’s witness protection program.

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr. said the amendment of the Republic Act No. 6981 or “The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act” will provide the necessary support system for any policeman who may be called to testify especially in government-initiated investigations.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla brought the issue of including policemen under witness protection program amid the controversy behind the government’s bloody drug war in the past six years.

Remulla even expressed his openness to foreign settlement for policemen who would agree to squeal the wrongdoings of their fellow cops who may have committed abuses and violations of human rights in the campaign against illegal drugs.

More than 6,000 suspected drug pushers and users were killed during the aggressive campaign against illegal drugs, excluding children who were accidentally shot dead in police operations.

Thousands more died at the hands of drug-war inspired vigilante groups, which critics said, also includes policemen.

More than 100 policemen were indicted for human rights violations in the drug war, but only a handful were convicted, including at least two Caloocan City cops who were found to have executed Kian delos Santos under the oft-repeated “nanlaban” (suspects shot it out with cops) narrative.

Azurin said they welcome the proposal of Remulla.

“Nevertheless, the PNP will continue to provide any possible assistance to ensure the availability of police witnesses to DOJ investigations, including the ongoing investigation of some police operations carried out in the implementation of the anti-illegal drugs campaign,” said Azurin.