“We maintain that the PNP campaign against illegal drugs is constitutional, legal and implemented in the interest of public safety,” PNP spokesman Chief Supt. John Bulalacao said in a statement to reporters.
Joven Cagande
PNP tells SC: War on drugs constitutional
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - April 13, 2018 - 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday insisted that its war against illegal drugs is constitutional and dispelled insinuations that all drug-related deaths may have been carried out by the government itself.

“We maintain that the PNP campaign against illegal drugs is constitutional, legal and implemented in the interest of public safety,” PNP spokesman Chief Supt. John Bulalacao said in a statement to reporters.

Bulalacao made the comment after the Supreme Court released on Tuesday a resolution that said: “The government’s inclusion of these deaths among its other accomplishments may lead to the inference that these are state-sponsored killings,” referring to the Duterte administration’s 2017 yearend report.

The strongly worded resolution came after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) refused to yield records on the deaths linked to the government’s anti-drug war. The voluminous records were required by the high court which is hearing the consolidated petitions assailing the constitutionality of the PNP’s Oplan Double Barrel and the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Masa Masid program.

“If this Court cannot obtain the regularly prepared information from the OSG as well as from the rest of the respondents, by what other means can ordinary citizens get information about their relatives who were killed during anti-drug operations of the police?” the SC said.

But Bulalacao insisted that police officers involved in anti-drug operations enjoy the “presumption of regularity… unless proven otherwise in the court of law.”

PNP records showed at least 6,225 suspected drug pushers and users were killed in alleged legitimate armed encounters with lawmen during the period July 2016 to September 2017.

But the SC resolution noted that the Duterte administration’s 2017 yearend report tallied “a total of 20,322 deaths from July 1, 2016 to Nov. 27, 2017 or an average of 39.46 deaths every day.”

It added: “This Court wants to know why so many deaths happened as expressly reported under the section ‘Fighting Illegal Drugs’ of the Duterte Administration’s 2017 Yearend Report.”

Director General Ronald dela Rosa, the outgoing PNP chief, said casualties could have been avoided had some of the drug suspects opted to surrender peacefully instead of putting up a fight during police operations.

To dispel speculations that the government has sanctioned the extrajudicial killing of drug offenders, Bulalacao said the number of deaths should not be the only focus of the issue but should include the 1.3 million persons who surrendered to the government and more than 120,000 arrested during police operations.

He argued that if allegations of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) are true, then all those arrested or surrendered could have already been dead.

“The ratio of those who died and those arrested and surrendered is 0.3 percent only, which would logically rule out EJK,” Bulalacao said.

ILLEGAL DRUGS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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