PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is not yet done with Sen. Leila de Lima.
De Lima, a former Justice secretary, and former undersecretary Francisco Baraan 3rd are among the highest public officials in a “matrix” of personalities involved in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, President Rodrigo Duterte bared on Tuesday.
In a news conference in Malacañang, Duterte said he will release the drug matrix in the coming days.
“I will show to you maybe this week the matrix. It is being validated, the matrix of the Muntinlupa connection. De Lima is actually there in the matrix,” he told reporters.
The matrix supposedly shows the illegal drug operations within the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. Duterte claimed de Lima played a key role in the supposed “Muntinlupa Connection.”
“It will show her role there. Now, everybody knows. When I go out with the matrix, you will know,” he said.
Duterte said a friend of his who is a governor, and an undersecretary, is in the matrix.
“There is also a governor and you know, he’s my friend, I could not believe it … There’s a governor and an undersecretary,” he said.
The President did not name the governor but later confirmed that the undersecretary he was referring to was Baraan.
Baraan served as the supervisor of the Bureau of Corrections and the New Bilibid Prison during the previous administration.
Duterte first mentioned in July the supposed matrix showing the drug links of mayors and police officers.
The President is also expected to reveal another list of government officials involved in the illegal drug trade.
‘Not the bad guys’
At the resumption of the Senate investigation into the rising number of drug-related deaths led by Senator de Lima on Tuesday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald de la Rosa admitted he was disappointed with sectors that had projected the institution as the “bad guy,” when it was just doing its job to serve and protect the people.
“We’re only human your honor, we also feel frustration and although we really like our role in this world as police officers, we are also human,” de la Rosa said.
The PNP chief was responding to queries from Sen. Gregorio Honasan 2nd, who asked de la Rosa to clarify the statement he made during the hearing last Monday.
De la Rosa had said that senators could ask Duterte to order the PNP to stop its anti-illegal drug operations if they wanted the killings to stop, because the police were growing tired of it.
“We are here to serve and protect. We are not butchers who kill people without any reason. We are not perfect, we commit mistakes and I hope people will treat us fair,” the PNP chief said.
Rule of law
De la Rosa assured senators the police force will observe the rule of law in its anti-illegal drug operations, and said the reason drug suspects were killed was they resisted arrest.
“Otherwise, if they did not, they’d still be alive,” de la Rosa told the Senate justice committee.
The PNP chief said that to date, 756 suspected drug suspects have been killed in police operations nationwide.
Of the 1,160 recorded deaths outside police operations, 100 cases were closed and 168 cases were solved.
But anti-drug operations also resulted in the deaths of nine police officers and three members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the period July 1 to August 18. A total of 18 police officers and eight AFP men were wounded during the period.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon noted that the“death toll” figure could have a chilling effect because it would mean that an average of 36 deaths were recorded daily since the Duterte administration took over.
Drilon also asked de la Rosa if the PNP was trying to meet a “quota” in its campaign against illegal drugs.
The police chief answered that he wanted a total of 1.8 million drug users and pushers to voluntarily surrender in six months.
So far, 673,978 drug suspects have surrendered, he said.