Civilian volunteer groups face PNP probe
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – After the arrest of three barangay peacekeepers allegedly behind a vigilante killing spree, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to check civilian volunteer organizations (CVOs) and other so-called government force multipliers.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said the PNP would conduct background checks to determine if these so-called CVOs or some of their members had engaged in vigilante killings.

Dela Rosa said the PNP would be coordinating with local government officials to gather more information about CVOs in their respective localities.

“We will consult with the local government units. With their help, we will check if these CVOs and other force multipliers moonlighted as vigilantes,” Dela Rosa said.

The PNP earlier said some drug-related killings were perpetrated by vigilantes and denied the policemen were behind the killings and that they were state-sanctioned.

The Duterte administration has been under fire for the so-called extrajudicial killings happening in the course of the drug war.

Human rights group Amnesty International said it was able to interview police officers who admitted they were being paid per kill of a drug personality.

On Jan. 30, President Duterte stopped the PNP campaign against illegal drugs following reports that many policemen were using Oplan Tokhang, or the operations to warn and arrest drug suspects, to extort money from their victims.

This was highlighted by the case of South Korean businessman, Jee Ick-joo, who was kidnapped and later killed by the suspected police assailants after demanding ransom from his family.

From July 1 to Dec. 15 of last year, the PNP recorded almost 3,000 deaths under investigation amid the drug war. The police have yet to identify the killers and establish the motive in the killings.

On Feb. 9, three barangay peacekeepers, tasked to maintain peace and order in their community allegedly used the drug war to embark on a vigilante killing spree. It was the first time that suspects in drug-related vigilante killings were unmasked and arrested.

Police raided on Wednesday afternoon a barangay outpost in Tondo, Manila and arrested three members who admitted their involvement in the disappearance and killing of drug suspects.

The suspects belong to the Confederate Sentinel Group (CSG), whose members are reportedly part of the barangay peacekeeping action teams.

RONALD DELA ROSA
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