Rody sees sabotage in murder of teens

The Philippine Star
Rody sees sabotage in murder of teens

Following the spate of killings of teenagers, President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said the government’s campaign against illegal drugs is being sabotaged. AP/Aaron Favila, File

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Following the spate of killings of teenagers, President Duterte yesterday said the government’s campaign against illegal drugs is being sabotaged.

Duterte suspects that there is a group sabotaging the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, citing the brutal killing of 14-year-old Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman who was found with at least 26 stab wounds after he went missing for over two weeks.

“Take a closer look at it. It is not our work. I do not allow it. We follow the law,” Duterte said during the 17th anniversary celebration of Digos City in Davao del Sur.

Duterte ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to look into the group behind the killings, which he said was out to destroy his administration.

“There is somebody that is orchestrating something to destroy us. It is intentional. It is a sabotage,” Duterte told Dela Rosa during the gathering.

The President did not mention any personality or group behind the killings, which he claimed was undermining police operations against illegal drugs.

Duterte mentioned the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, both of Caloocan City, and 17-year-old Vaughn Carl Dicang of Baguio City.

He stressed the case of De Guzman is not the handiwork of the police.

De Guzman was found floating in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija with around 30 stab wounds and his head wrapped in packing tape.

De Guzman was said to be a friend of Arnaiz, whom he was with when they went missing last month.

Duterte even claimed Arnaiz was his relative. 

“Do you think I will allow the police to kill my relative? Watch out. Someone’s cooking out there somewhere to discredit us,” he said. 

Duterte said kidnapping people to torture before killing them is not the manner of the police in carrying out the war on drugs.

“That’s not the way do these things. That’s illegal and I won’t tolerate it. We have to operate within the bounds of the law. Now if you are an authority, you have gone overboard,” he said.

Duterte’s war against drugs remains hugely popular among a citizenry fed up with high crime, according to many surveys.

The crackdown, however, has spawned wider violence and thousands of killings, with near-nightly attacks taking place mostly in slums and often at the hands of vigilantes, human rights groups said.

Many are shot dead by masked, motorcycle-riding gunmen, while others are snatched then killed, their bodies later dumped on unlit or deserted streets.

The series of killings in the past month of three teenage boys, two at the hands of the police, has sparked public outrage.

Anger and protests have focused on the killing of Delos Santos, who police claimed was a drug dealer who opened fire with a pistol during a raid.

His family, however, said he was mercilessly killed by police as he was pleading for his life. Witness statements and CCTV footage support this claim.

Duterte has expressed extraordinary support for police enforcing the crackdown, promising to pardon them if they are convicted to keep them out of jail.

But with the killing of Delos Santos, Duterte ordered the arrest of the policemen linked to the murder.

The outrage also prompted Duterte to meet Delos Santos’ parents in Malacañang and assured them of justice.

Duterte also reached out to the family of Arnaiz.

Arnaiz’s parents were also summoned to Malacañang earlier this week and Duterte also assured them that their son’s death will be given justice.

In the same speech, Duterte ordered the police to allow the rallies being planned by concerned groups on the killings. 

He told Dela Rosa not to arrest the protesters and even give them space to demonstrate their concerns.  

Duterte told the audience in Digos that he has repeatedly reminded the police to follow the proper procedure in arresting suspects.

As a former prosecutor, Duterte said he knows how the police officer should behave in arresting a suspect.

He said the law also allows a police officer to arrest any person even without a warrant. – With Christina Mendez

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