VIGILANTE groups killed more drug suspects than the Philippine National Police (PNP), police chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa told senators on Thursday.
Records presented by the PNP during the meeting of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs showed that the police are investigating 899 cases of summary executions believed to have been carried out either by vigilantes or drug syndicates.
De la Rosa, who faced off with drug war critic Sen. Leila de Lima and other senators, said the figure represented the total number of executions recorded by the PNP from July 1 to August 15.
But the PNP cannot pin the blame entirely on vigilantes because there were also murders carried out by illegal drug syndicates, he said.
“We cannot really attribute this to vigilante killings, these bodies found, and [these cases are]thus under investigation,” de la Rosa said in reply to the question of Sen. Grace Poe on how many were killed by vigilantes.
Police, he said, had so far filed 22 cases in connection with the killings, he added.
As for anti-illegal drug operations of the police, de la Rosa said a total of 665 drug suspects were killed by law enforcers during the same period.
Those killed either refused arrest or tried to grab the firearms of the police officers who arrested them, he said.
De la Rosa said that looking at the numbers, vigilantes and drug syndicates were better at killing drug suspects than the police.
The PNP chief however admitted that he found the figures very disturbing.
“We are in charge of the peace and order in the whole Philippine archipelago, and we feel insulted knowing that there are vigilantes doing the killing. It’s like we are ineffective,” the PNP chief added.
The PNP also assured senators it would comply with the law and assign a qualified civilian to head the Internal Affairs Service of the police institution that will probe the killings.