PNP hit for promoting cops linked to drug killings

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
PNP hit for promoting cops linked to drug killings
On Tuesday, Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, the police chief of Caloocan City, confirmed that he had been promoted on May 9 as police director of Bulacan.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Human Rights advocates yesterday hit the Philippine National Police (PNP) for promoting rather than punishing senior police officials who supervised the policemen implicated in extrajudicial killings linked to President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs.  

On Tuesday, Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, the police chief of Caloocan City, confirmed that he had been promoted on May 9 as police director of Bulacan. 

The previous day, Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo, who had been chief of the Northern Police District that covers Caloocan City, assumed his new role as chief of the PNP Highway Patrol Group.

Human rights activists calimed that the Caloocan police is one of the most active units involved in extrajudicial killings.

“Caloocan City is part of Metro Manila’s Camanava district, which many consider as ‘ground zero’ of the drug war in the capital. So many people have been killed there that in September 2017 then-Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde sacked the entire Caloocan police force – a first. President Duterte suggested that many Caloocan officers were involved in the drug trade,” said Carlos Conde of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia Division.

The group recalled that in August 2017, police officers under the supervision of Bersaluna and Fajardo killed 17-year-old Kian delos Santos who police claimed was a drug courier.

He added that authorities alleged that Caloocan policemen also killed another youth, Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, so he couldn’t testify in the August 2017 torture and murder of 19-year-old Carl Anthony Arnaiz.

HRW noted that Delos Santos and De Guzman were just two of dozens of children killed by policemen and their agents as part of Duterte’s nearly two-year-old anti-drug campaign. 

Senior police officials have dismissed the deaths of the children as “collateral damage” in the drug war.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde yesterday defended the promotion of the two police officials who supervised units accused of extrajudicial killings.

Albayalde said the appointments of Fajardo and Bersaluna were based on their performance.

“I don’t think it’s fair that you will confine a person who is working,” Albayalde said.

He said the two officials should not be placed in a freezer since they were never charged in the Delos Santos case. – With Emmanuel Tupas



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