The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Friday made an urgent appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to quickly address the rising death toll in the face of the government’s brutal and strict war against illegal drugs.
The anti-crime watchdog made the appeal as the death toll in the government’s war against illegal drugs has climbed to over 3,700 in just four months and investigation of the killings moves slowly.
The VACC cited in a statement the recent killing of a 21-year-old son of a retired intelligence police officer in Antipolo City in Rizal province last week.
The retired police intelligence officer, Senior Police Officer 3 Alfredo Jebulan, the father of Yani Jebulan, warned that criminals are taking advantage of the seemingly free-for-all campaign against illegal drugs.
“The bodies of the dead have so piled up that the morbid line is blurred–what are legitimate police operations, what are the extrajudicial killings, what are the killings of the innocents by criminals over whatever motive–as in the case of Jebulan, lumped together in the war against drugs,” the VACC said in the statement.
The younger Jebulan, a third year Psychology student of Our Lady Fatima University (OLFU) in Antipolo City, was on his way home after celebrating with some friends after passing a school examination when he was reportedly shot dead by unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle last Saturday night just a few hundred meters away from his home in Antipolo City.
The victim sustained gunshot wounds in the head and chest.
VACC president and chairman Dante Jimenez, a known staunch supporter of President Duterte, said it was high time for the President to address the slow investigation of crime cases “before the situation gets completely out of control.”
“Criminals are easily taking advantage of the apparent ‘free-for-all’–despite the government’s pure intention to cleanse the country of drugs, and the slow pace of investigation of the crimes has worsened matters,” he added.
Given that not all cases of killings could be investigated because of their volume, Jimenez raised concerns that all deaths since the Duterte administration waged its war on drugs could be misconstrued as “state sanctioned even if this may not be true.”
“Let’s face it, not all the crime cases are being investigated because of their volume. Police investigators don’t have the capability for such a huge task. The cases are piling up and speculations are also mounting not only locally in our country but also abroad,” the VACC chief said.
He added, “ It’s high time the President step in and address the investigation of these crime cases although these are actually judicial cases, before the situation gets completely out of control.”
The older Jebulan asked the President and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to help him find the killers of his son.
“I’m begging you. Help me solve the unnecessary death of my son, please, or I will be the one to do it without your help,’’ he said.
“If I find out that one of your policemen had a hand [in]the death of my son, God forbid… I know you don’t tolerate this, but let me be very, very frank: If they know how to kill people, so do I.”
But dela Rosa asked the Jebulan family not to readily attribute Jebulan’s killing to the government’s drug war.
The VACC in coordination with other government agencies involved in the judicial system, will also launch a program “Buhayin ang mga Patay” to revive criminal cases that have been shelved or neglected because of problems of the criminal justice system.