MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa played down a special report by an international media agency citing two senior officials who admitted to payoffs to stage a killing in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.
Dela Rosa said that Reuters just made up the story to scare the police organization, which earned heavy criticism for being in the frontline of the drug war which has claimed thousands of lives.
The nation's top cop challenged the "coward" sources of the special report – a retired police intelligence officer and an active-duty commander – to surface and proved their allegations. The sources, however, spoke to Reuters in the condition of anonymity.
"Ike-claim ko na creation ng media ‘yan. Hanggat hindi lumalabas ‘yung dalawang police officials na source ng Reuters creation ng media 'yan," Dela Rosa said.
"Hindi PNP nag-create n'yan. Kayo nagsabi so prove n'yo na nandyan ‘yung mga tao, existing ‘yung mga tao, palutangin n'yo complete name at mag-usap kami harap-harapan kung ano ‘yung mga issues nila sasagutin ko," he added.
In the latter part of the ambush interview at One Esplanade in Pasay City, Dela Rosa clarified that he was pertaining to foreign media.
"Sorry for my words, not local media creation, that's foreign media creation," he said.
The report, however, is only one of several reports by local and international media as well as human rights organizations over the past year citing hired guns who admit to working with police in committing extrajudicial killings. The sources were usually left unnamed to protect their identities.
The style and profile of victims of the killings have been said to be similar to those observed in Davao City in the past while Duterte was still mayor.
Dela Rosa seemed to find it unfair that they are defending themselves from persons who are afraid to stand firm by their accusations. He added that the motive is suspicious.
"Kung may bayag sila humarap sa media at magpakalat ng ganyang storya dapat may bayag sila humarap sa commander nila at sabihan ako na ganun, ganito para maaksyunan ko," the PNP chief said.
"You give us the burden of defending ourselves while you are the one accusing us. The burden of proof should with the accuser hindi sa accused. Magpakilala ka, magpakita ka," Dela Rosa added.