PNP: Public safety tops gov’t drug war agenda

MANILA Public safety remains as the main consideration in the government's war on illegal drugs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reiterated Thursday.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. John Bulalacao pointed out that the government's war on drugs have resulted in more than 1.3 million surrenderers, and more than 120,000 arrests along with the unfortunate deaths due to suspects' attempt to resist arrest in police operations which end in armed encounters.

"We maintain that the PNP campaign against illegal drugs is constitutional, legal and is implemented in the interest of public safety. All allegations are part of the healthy democracy that the country has. The presumption of regularity remains with the law enforcers and unless proven otherwise in the court of law," Bulalacao said.

"Emphasis should not only be focused on the almost 4,000 deaths in police operations but also on the more than 1.3 M surrenderers, 120,000 plus arrested persons and on the number of law enforcers who have died during these police operations. If the claims on EJK are true, then these surrenderers and arrested suspects should not be alive as well," he noted.

Last week, the Supreme Court (SC) denied the Office of the Solicitor General's petition seeking to recall its order for the PNP to submit reports on the death of drug suspects in police anti-drug operations.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said these documents contain sensitive information that have implications on national security.

Calida said disclosing the requested documents in the long run will have an undeniable effect on national security and could spell the success or failure of follow-up operations of police and other law enforcement bodies, aside from endangering the lives of those on the list as well as those already in custody.

The top government counsel has also argued that the documents are not relevant in determining the legality of the police anti-drug operations.

Among the documents required by the tribunal include lists of persons killed in legitimate police operations and deaths under investigation from July 1, 2016 to November 30, 2017; Chinese and Filipino-Chinese drug lords who have been neutralized; drugs involved; comparative tables on index crimes; and statistics of internal cleansing within the police force.

Likewise sought by the tribunal are the drug watchlist in affected areas; reports and documents regarding alleged drug war on three victims cited in the petitions namely Aileen Almora, Rowena Aparri, and Jefferson Soriano; pre- and post-operation reports in all the incidents cited in the petition filed by Sister Ma. Juanita DaAo's group; number of buy-bust incidents in San Andres Bukid, Manila, from July 1, 2016 to November 30, 2017; list of warrants and warrantless arrests in high-value target police operations; and list of cases under investigation under the PNP's Internal Affairs Service. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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