Proper probe for narco cops vowed
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - July 9, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - They deserve proper investigation after all, said President Duterte of the five active and retired police generals he had publicly tagged as protectors of drug traffickers.

Addressing a gathering of Muslims celebrating Eid’l Fitr at the SMX in Davao City last night, Duterte said that after seeking guidance from God or Allah, he rushed to name the five, as it was his sworn duty to let the people know what was happening in the country.

“I am not condemning them. They deserve an investigation, but I cannot wait,” he said.

“These are the things I have to do because I’m the President,” Duterte said.

“In like manner, when I was mayor, there were things which I had to do because nobody would do it for us except me,” Duterte said. This made Davao progressive, he added.

“Yan ang utos ni Allah. Do not do wrong to your fellowmen and you treat everybody equal. In the eyes of Allah, we are all equal. So that’s what happened,” he maintained.

Duterte reiterated the public’s trust and confidence in the government have eroded because of the involvement of some officials in illegal activities.

“May I ask everybody, I have the list that includes police generals, municipal and city mayors. There are some who are in Mindanao, some Maranaos. There are many from the Visayas, there are Kuratong Baleleng up to now…” he said.

He warned there would always be a time of reckoning for corrupt officials and men in uniform.

“There is God, who will maybe punish you one of these days. In my time, I am not God, I am just an ordinary mortal, I am just a follower of Allah but I take his cue,” he said.

Named by Duterte as protectors of drug syndicates were active police generals Edgardo Tinio, Joel Pagdilao and Bernardo Diaz and retired generals Marcelo Garbo Jr. and now Cebu town mayor Vicente Loot.

No need for probe

Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said a Senate investigation into the alleged rubout by police of suspected drug pushers may not be necessary in the absence of complainants against the law enforcers, “If there’s a complaint why not? But there are no complaints and you’re only speculating that they’re being executed. What’s the basis for filing a resolution?” Lacson said in reaction to Sen. Leila de Lima’s plan to file a resolution calling for an investigation into the killings.

If De Lima pushes through with the filing of a resolution, Lacson said his committee on public order will not call for a probe “unless somebody will come out” and present evidence that the killings were cases of summary execution.

But he clarified it is his duty as a senator to attend such hearing, if it ever pushes through.

He said De Lima was apparently speculating that police officers were executing drug suspects.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, for his part, has filed a bill that aims to establish a national integrated program to strengthen the drive against illegal drugs.

The measure also seeks to put up an Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign and Research (AIDCARE) Fund.

“We must acknowledge that while the government has declared war against illegal drugs in order to maintain peace and order, it must also provide an opportunity for drug abusers to reform their lives, as they are merely victims as well of drug lords who control the massive illegal drug trade in the country,” Angara said.

To the ends of the earth

Amid concerns over the rising number of killings of suspected drug pushers, presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said President Duterte was merely demonstrating his determination to pursue drug lords “to the ends of the earth” by declaring he wanted drug lords killed, particularly one he identified as Peter Lim.

“Well, he has been saying that. Actually what he meant is this government, the President himself, will pursue to the ends of the earth all criminals involved in drugs and for that matter, all illegal matters or things that they commit. And they will put them behind bars,” Panelo said in a TV interview.

“But the moment they resist, under the law… a police officer has the right to kill,” Panelo added.

Apart from Lim, a certain Peter Co and Herbert Colangco were among the drug lords identified by the President on national television as members of the Chinese triad operating in the country. Co and Colangco are detained at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

Panelo also said police killings of suspected drug peddlers are justified if they are done in self-defense.

“The policemen are trained to enforce the law the way it should be; but there is always a danger on these people to be killed or be injured or maimed, and the law gives them the privilege to retaliate or to kill or to injure,” he added. – With Paolo Romero, Eva Visperas, Jose Rodel Clapano

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