The Philippine National Police (PNP) is investigating the policemen caught shooting three unarmed men dead—an act filmed in at least four closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Tondo, Manila.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque was referring to the Reuters report which showed at least 11 policemen—some in police uniform while majority were in shorts and slippers but all armed with guns—shooting the three men who were chatting while the rest of the community ate lunch in Barangay 19, Tondo, Manila.
Based on the CCTV footage that Reuters obtained, it took the policemen 25 minutes to kill the three unarmed men, with even one of the policemen turning a CCTV camera away from the scene, unaware that there are other CCTV cameras in place that caught them on tape. The policemen were also seen carrying the dead bodies away from the crime scene.
“The police is in the process of looking into this; authenticating the video. [Rest assured] the President will not tolerate the abuses committed by some personnel of the PNP. The administration does not tolerate police violence, police brutality or police killing,” Roque told reporters.
He cited the President’s pronouncements that he will not treat murderous policemen with kid gloves, a stance the President made when three teenagers—Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman—were killed separately in anti-drug operations the Caloocan City.
The remains of 14-year-old de Guzman were found floating in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. It was later learned that de Guzman suffered 30 stab wounds, his head was wrapped in packaging tape and his mouth gagged.
Arnaiz’s body, on the other hand, showed signs of torture.
The police also alleged that Delos Santos was a drug trafficker, but a CCTV video in the crime scene showed Caloocan police dragging Delos Santos into a dark alley without resistance.
The killings of teenagers prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to strip the PNP of its lead role in the anti-drug war, transferring such authority to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) instead.
Roque, however, tried to shift the burden of proof to the victims by saying that those who were victimized by the abusive policemen or their counsels should file charges in the appropriate government instrumentalities such as the National Police Commission, the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service and the People’s Law Enforcement Board.
“There are many reports [of abusive policemen], but I do not know how many complaints have been filed. I will have to find the data on that, and I urge the public that if you have fallen victim to these abusive policemen, please gather evidence and file the complaint,” Roque said.
Human rights organizations based here and abroad have continuously raised the alarm on the spate of drug-related killings under the war on drugs. These human rights organizations have counted around 7,000 to as much as 13,000 drug suspects killed without charges or trial, including children and the teenagers mentioned above.