Probe death of cops participating in drug ops, Duterte tells CHR

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

April 27, 2022, 3:44 pm

<p>President Rodrigo Roa Duterte <em>(File photo)</em></p>

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to also look into the killings of police officers involved in the conduct of legitimate anti-drug operations.

Duterte made the call, as he lamented the death of a cop engaged in a gunfight with a drug suspect during the April 24 buy-bust operation in Tanza, Cavite.

He was referring to the case of Cpl. John Paul Digma who was killed in a buy-bust operation in Biga village in Tanza following an armed encounter with drug suspect, Leovildo Mesa Alangilan.

Digma died after Alangilan, who tried to escape, shot him in the chest.

The police also shot Alangilan who died on the spot.

“See? Gusto kong dalhin din ito sa human rights, ireport ko rin. Kindly investigate bakit ganito ang nangyari. Bakit kailangan pang magbarilan (I want to bring and report it to the human rights. Kindly investigate why it happened),” he said in his prerecorded Talk to the People aired Wednesday morning.

Duterte also maintained that the drug offenders killed in buy-bust operations resisted arrest.

He said police officers would never kill drug suspects who voluntarily surrender.

“Sinasabi ko sa kanila (I am telling them), go out and hunt for them and arrest them. But if they put up a good fight, a violent resistance that would endanger the life of my police and military personnel, shoot and shoot them dead. Iyan ang sinabi ko noon pa (That’s what I have been saying all along),” Duterte said.

‘Stupid’ commentators

Duterte made the remarks, as he remained unfazed by the criticisms from “stupid commentators” who know nothing about the drug war.

He also took a swipe at the International Criminal Court (ICC), asking the international tribunal about their response to drug problem in the Philippines.

“We never really made it open to the people — and itong mga (these) human rights and ICC — that we were nearing a narco state,” Duterte said. “Then I asked the ICC, what gives? How do you solve a problem like that?”

Duterte earlier directed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to give human rights a copy of the report on the government’s anti-narcotics campaign to enlighten them about the gravity of the drug problem in the country.

A total of PHP76.01 billion worth of illegal drugs have been seized nationwide since the start of Duterte’s drug campaign in July 2016, according to the latest Read Numbers data released by the PDEA.

Around 14,648 high-value targets have been arrested, as of February 2022.

Authorities have also arrested 331,694 individuals involved in illegal drugs.

Duterte expressed optimism that his anti-illegal drugs campaign would be continued under the next administration. (PNA)