'Systemic violence' in killings in San Andres Bukid, Manila highligted in latest amparo petition

Even with President Rodrigo Duterte's memorandum designating the PDEA as sole agency to handle the government's war on drugs, petitioners cite that police forces are not stripped off of total authority to carry out the bloody anti-illegal drug campaign. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

'Systemic violence' in killings in San Andres Bukid, Manila highligted in latest amparo petition
(The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2017 - 3:07am

MANILA, Philippines — Center for International Law highlights "systematic violence" in vigilante killings and anti-drug police operations in San Andres Bukid, Manila in its latest petition to the Supreme Court.

The CenterLaw assisted members of religious order and families of now-halted Oplan Tokhang victims in seeking a writ of amparo or protection against members of the police force.

In its 51-paged petition, CenterLaw pointed out that there is "systematic violence perpetrated by or wrought in conspiracy with the respondents through the members of the Manila Police District Station 6" over San Andres Bukid, Manila.

CenterLaw leads 38 petitioners in seeking a temporary protection order from agents of the police and the PDEA.

The petition documented at least 35-drug related deaths in San Andres Bukid. They pointed out the following patterns that " show the police killings are not random and unplanned but part of a systematic design and strategy,"

'Kill' time

The petitioners pointed out that, in the 24 incidents they elevate to the SC, there seems to be a window time for the killings to happen.

"[I]t appears that the killings were usually perpetrated at about ten o'clock in the evening to three o'clock in the early morning of the following day," the petition stated.

Uniformed policemen established perimeter checkpoints and served as guards and lookouts

It was noted that before and during the killings happened, armed men including police are often seen outside the houses of the victims or at alleyways near the crime scene.

Killings perpetrated by armed men in plainclothes who suddenly barge into the house of victims unannounced

The killings, the petitioners said, were also perpetrated by armed men who forcibly enter the houses of the victims.

Detention and charges filed against family members, relatives, neighbors or friends

The CenterLaw stressed that women and children companions of the victims were dragged out of the homes of the victims before the killing was done. Other instances record that families of the victims who immediately sought the police after the incident would be detained and charged with non-bailable complaints.

Guns, drugs and drug paraphernalia were planted

The petitioners noted that in instances where the police said the victims were killed for retaliating against them, guns, drugs and drug paraphernalia were planted by the police as having been found in the houses of the victims.
As regards the killings perpetrated, there are no cases filed against the perpetrators. Many times, no crime scene investigation is conducted, nor reports submitted.

Previous surrenderees to the barangays under Oplan Tokhang

The petition noted that many of the victims have previously submitted themselves to authorities under the police's now-halted Oplan Tokhang. Their pictures and persona records, including their circumstances, were taken by barangay officials that will then be submitted to the PNP. But, "sometime thereafter, violence were visited upon them and their families."

Barangay Closed Circuit Cameras were disabled or rendered useless hours before the killings

CCTV footages were "rendered inutile in the most opportune times" in some of the killings cited in the petition.

No Scene of the Crime Operatives that conducted an investigation of the killings and released reports to families of those killed

The petitioners also lamented that members of the SOCO did not arrive at the time of the killing and were not able "to do proper investigation and evidence gathering."

"As there were no investigations conducted by the SOCO, understandably, no reports were given to the families of the victims," the petition reads.

No police reports released to the families of the persons killed

There were no police report on the investigation, gathering of evidence and prosecution of perpetrators were given to the families of the victims.

Continuing threats to petitioners and their families

Armed men, mostly in civilian clothes, routinely conduct foot patrols in the communities. The men would "train their lights on the windows of the houses and warn people not to go out of their houses." "Petitioners could not even request for copies of police reports or blotters for fear that such reports will lead to further harassment and incarceration on their part, or worse."

The petition came after the President Rodrigo Duterte issued a memorandum designating the PDEA as the sole agency to carry out the government's anti-drug campaign. This effectively halted the PNP's Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded.

Dela Rosa then said that the police forces will focus on anti-criminality campaigns.

The petitioners stressed that Duterte's recent memorandum circular "does not guarantee that the PDEA, as assisted by the police, will not continue to perpetuate the practices adopted by the police and which are complained of in this petition."

Named as respondents are:

  • Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa
  • Manila Police District Chief Joel Coronel
  • Manila Police Station 6 Commander Police Supt. Olivia Ancheta Sagasa
  • MPD Police Station 6 Station Commander Supt. Jerry Corpuz
  • former MPD Police Station 6 Station Commander Supt. Roberto Domingo
  • MPD Police Station 6 Station Commander PO2 Rhadael Rodriguez
  • PO2 Princeton Felia
  • PO1 Harry Allan Cruz
  • PO1 Kennith Gaa
  • PO1 Efren Guitering
  • PO2 Jocelyn Samson
  • PO3 Allan Esramosa
  • PO2 Francisco Mendoza
  • PO2 Roestrell Ocampo
  • PO3 Rodolfo Ocampo Jr.
  • Police Senior Inspector Con-corcio Pangilinan
  • Alias Harry
  • Alias Jr.
  • Alias Ivan

Also named as respondents are several unidentified members of the PDEA.

This is the second petition for writ of amparo filed by the CenterLaw. The first was filed in January this year, for the kin of Oplan Tokhang victims in Payatas, Quezon City.

READ: 'Are present writs sufficient to uphold citizens' rights?'

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