THE Philippine National Police (PNP) doubts a report by human rights group Amnesty International (AI) that about “60” children have been killed by police in enforcing President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Show us the numbers. Show us the individuals. Show specific cases,” Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Tuesday.
The human rights group, however, did cite specific cases in its report.
It said it interviewed family members who revealed that they witnessed themselves how children were killed at close range as they begged for mercy.
“They pointed a gun at my head [and]told me to get out… I heard shouting and three gunshots, then three more shots,” a witness said as she recalled how her boyfriend was killed.
Carlos accused the international group of citing unverified data to make the Philippine police look bad.
“That is their technique. I don’t know where they got their data,” Carlos said.
Carlos also belittled the group’s call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings.
“What do they know about the local law?” Carlos said.
On Monday, AI released a statement that “as many as 60 children” have been killed in anti-drug operations since June 2016, amid growing concerns that the PNP will rejoin the drug campaign.
According to the group, it had an international research team that witnessed how large numbers of children suspected of being drug offenders were kept in overcrowded and unsanitary holding centers for minors in Manila.
The group also quoted some children as saying that they were beaten and tortured by police after their arrests and were framed to pose in photographs with planted drugs.
AI also brought up the case of 17-year-old Kian de los Santos, which caused a national outcry after the police report and CCTV footages showed different accounts on how he was killed.
The police claimed that he was a drug offender who fought back. However, the CCTV and witnesses revealed that de los Santos was dragged in an alleyway unarmed before he was shot execution style.
More than 12 policemen were investigated and arrested for the killing. However, no one has been convicted.
ICC hinted that its court would investigate the crimes against children. RJ CARBONELL