Probe on child deaths in drug war sought
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 7, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Grace Poe yesterday asked Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to probe incidents involving children killed during police anti-drug operations.

Poe cited the killing of a four-year-old girl during a sting in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental on Aug. 30.

She cited Republic Act 8551 or the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, which mandates the PNP-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to automatically investigate incidents of death, serious physical injury or violation of human rights committed in the conduct of a police operation.

“The PNP-IAS must ensure that scalawags in the police service are held accountable, more so in cases where children and minors are senselessly caught in the crossfire. Their vulnerability must not be trampled upon,” said Poe, who has been pressing for the appointment of a civilian IAS head.

Althea Fhem Barbon and her father Aldrick, 31, were a few meters from their home when police shot them on Larena street in Barangay Poblacion.

Aldrick, a drug suspect, died at the scene while Althea died in a hospital in Dumaguete City two days later.

“The situation where innocent children become victims of the drug war is deplorable and must be addressed without delay,” Poe said.

 The senator also asked for updates on the investigation on the death of five-year-old Danica Mae Garcia of Dagupan City, Pangasinan, who was hit with a bullet intended for her grandfather, a drug suspect.

While Poe has expressed full support to the government’s anti-drug campaign, she noted that the prime duty of the police is to serve and protect the people.

“The protection of life is one of the essentials for the enjoyment of the blessings of democracy,” she said.

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