PNP responsible for extra-judicial killings, says international rights group

MANILA, Philippines - New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a report accusing the Philippine National Police of carrying extrajudicial killings of suspected drug personalities in the countries.

PNP responsible for extra-judicial killings - international group

Titled "License to Kill’: Philippine Police Killings in Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs,” the 117-page report examined 24 incidents that resulted in 32 deaths from October 2016 and January 2017 in Metro Manila as well as nearby provinces. HRW claimed that it “found no such distinction” between vigilante killings and deaths during police operations.

While members of the PNP attributed drug-related deaths to unknown killers, HRW claims that the killings were not carried out by people “operating separately from the authorities."

“Our research indicates that police involvement in the killings of drug suspects extends far beyond the officially acknowledged cases of police killings in ‘buy-bust’ operations,” the HRW report read.

Their probe also revealed that at least 12 out of 32 cases investigated by the international rights group have been declared as extrajudicial killings. Meanwhile, cases with existing police reports presented data which was significantly different from testimonies of witnesses and relatives.

About 7,080 people have been allegedly killed during anti-drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte came into power.

Following the brutal killing of South Korean national Jee Ick Joo, Duterte ordered the dissolution of all PNP anti-drug units and created a new command that will carry out cleansing of corrupt personnel.

However, barely a month after the announcement, Duterte once again allowed the PNP to take over the government’s war on drugs.

HRW Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert said it all boils down to “question of reality”.

“If you go to these neighborhoods and see how heavily policed they are, ask yourself, is it possible to have a group of killers, 8, 10 people, to drive around every night, night after night, around these neighborhoods and kill people, without working together with the police? It simply, it doesn’t meet the test of reality.”

The report also stressed that there is "yet no evidence that President Duterte directly ordered specific extrajudicial killings.” Still, HRW holds Duterte liable for statements encouraging people to commit violence against suspected drug personalities.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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