Killings rise to 69 from day of Duterte poll win
THE number of drug casualties again rose on Sunday after five suspected drug dealers were shot dead by Manila policemen in Quiapo district.
Chief Inspector Michael Garcia, head of the Manila Police District’s (MPD) Station 3, said the five were gunned down when they engaged the lawmen in a gun battle.
He added that police operatives found the suspects, members of a big drug syndicate operating in Manila, in a makeshift house on Castillejos and Duque de Alba streets in Quiapo.
Garcia said the five were notorious shabu dealers. The MPD, he added, has been monitoring their movements but it was only on Sunday morning that the police assigned to get them tracked them down in their hideout.
Police investigators recovered four firearms, money, 200 grams of shabu, and several drug paraphernalia.
The police official declined to give further details.
Also on Sunday, police found the bodies of two suspected drug pushers under the Quezon Bridge also in Quiapo around 3 a.m.
The faces of the two men were covered with duct tape. A piece of paper with the message
“Huwag tularan, pusher ako [Do not emulate me, I am a pusher]!” was taped to their faces.
Garcia said police had yet to determine the cause of death although he admitted that the two were apparently “salvaged” or summarily executed.
There had been a rise in the killing of drug suspects by the police and suspected vigilantes since President Rodrigo Duterte declared an all-out war on illegal drugs.
Since he won the presidential elections on May 9, at least 69 drug suspects had been killed by the police. Of this number, 54 died from May 10 to June 20, 2016.
On June 30, the day Duterte took office, policemen in Bulacan province launched an anti-drug trafficking blitz and killed nine drug suspects.
Another suspect was also killed by police in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, on Friday.
With Duterte encouraging them, police had already killed dozens of suspected criminals since his election victory.
His threat that drug users and dealers will be killed prompted thousands to surrender en masse.
With dozens of drugs suspects turning themselves in every day, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it is possible that Duterte’s campaign promise to stop crime and illegal drugs in six months will come to pass.
“At the rate the war against illegal drugs is gaining ground, now I can say it is doable within six months,” he pointed out.
Lacson, who will likely head the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs in the 17th Congress, however, noted that the only concern is if the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be able to sustain the campaign during Duterte’s entire term.
According to the senator, suspected criminals should still undergo due process.
Lacson said while he sees the six-month target of the Duterte administration doable, sustaining it for six years may be difficult because it will depend of the consistency of the PNP in implementing the marching orders of the President.
He noted that the country’s problem in criminality, drugs and corruption within the PNP worsened because of the failure of the past administration to grant the PNP chief authority that is equal to their responsibility.
Lacson said peace and order suffered because the PNP chiefs were not allowed to initiate their own program.
“The chief PNP has to get clearance from Malacañang or the Napolcom [National Police Commission] first before relieving a town’s police chief,” he explained.
Lacson said PNP chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa will have to clarify with the President if he will be given commensurate authority over his men.
Duterte earlier said he would give de la Rosa a free hand in choosing officers to be assigned to key positions and that he will not interfere in the assignments.