Bring Bato, enforcer of brutal drug war, to justice — HRW

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Bring Bato, enforcer of brutal drug war, to justice â HRW
This file photo shows former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa outside Comelec office in October last year when he filed his certificate of candidacy.
The STAR, File

MANILA, Philippines — There is a renewed urgency to investigate those implicated in alleged drug war crimes now that Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa—the campaign’s chief enforcer—is poised to make his Senate debut, Human Rights Watch said.

“Dela Rosa was as vociferous is carrying out and defending the ‘drug war’ brutality as [President Rodrigo] Duterte was in justifying it,” Carlos Conde of HRW Asia division said Friday.

The former chief of the Philippine National Police helped Duterte fulfil his promise to eradicate crime and address the country’s drug problem by enforcing the chief executive’s ferocious narcotics crackdown to the national level—a campaign that has drawn international censure.

Police said the policy has killed about 5,300 alleged drug personalities who fought back. But human rights watchdog has higher estimates—more than 27,000 since Duterte took office in 2016.

Dela Rosa, whose area of focus would be law enforcement and peace and order if elected lawmaker, placed fifth in a near final tally as of 7:29 a.m. Friday. A total of 18,718,859 voters supported his Senate bid so far.

If elected as senator, Dela Rosa would also push for the re-imposition of death penalty for drug-related crimes, rape and murder.

“However one views the election results, it won’t change the fact that victorious candidates implicated in ‘drug war’ crimes shouldn’t receive a get-out-of-jail-free card,” HRW’s Conde said.

“Now that Dela Rosa is a policymaker, there is a renewed urgency in bringing all those responsible for ‘drug war’ crimes to justice,” Conde also said, adding the International Criminal Court should investigate the former top cop.

Duterte’s allies are headed for a resounding election win, according to partial and unofficial tally from the poll body’s transparency server.

The election of administration loyalists is seen to fortify Duterte’s powers and pave a path for his controversial plans such the bringing back capital punishment, lowering the age of criminal responsibility and rewriting the constitution to create a federal republic.




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