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PNP: Nearly 8,000 suspects slain in anti-drug war
The number was bared during PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan’s 60-day accomplishment report yesterday in Camp Crame, where he said 7,987 drug suspects have been killed in the 234,036 operations conducted since 2016.
Miguel De Guzman, file

PNP: Nearly 8,000 suspects slain in anti-drug war

Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - November 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The number of suspects killed during anti-drug operations since July 2016 is nearing 8,000, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The number was bared during PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan’s 60-day accomplishment report yesterday in Camp Crame, where he said 7,987 drug suspects have been killed in the 234,036 operations conducted since 2016.

He also said 357,069 suspects have been arrested, while 1,290,768 others have surrendered.

“We continue to enhance our operations on anti-illegal drugs,” he said.

Local and international human rights groups have expressed alarm on human rights violations, abuses of power and killings committed by local law enforcers during the community quarantine.

In fact, the PNP two months ago recorded 2,423 or an average of 13 killings a day.

Among those killed during the coronavirus pandemic quarantine period were peace consultant Randall Echanis, who was stabbed to death in Quezon City, and human rights advocate Zara Alvarez, who was gunned down in Bacolod City.

The pandemic, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier, did not stop the killings during anti-drug operations as it saw the numbers rise in the months leading to September this year.

Records from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency showed that 155 people were killed during anti-drug operations from March 31 to July 31 this year.

HRW said the number does not reflect thousands of others killed by unidentified suspects which, if included, it said figures would reach more than 27,000.

Cascolan, who is set to retire next week, earlier said he had set his sights on addressing two issues that have been hounding the PNP since the drug war began – the lack of skills in marksmanship and investigation.

A PNP guidebook on human rights based policing dictates that officers should be retrained in proper apprehension procedures that place emphasis on non-lethal tactics.

“All police personnel must be skilled marksmen and trained investigators. These are some of the greatest issues (against the PNP), especially when we try to arrest people,” Cascolan earlier said.

Last June, the United Nations Human Rights Office released a report that bared how police in the Philippines planted guns as evidence to support their “nanlaban” or fought back narratives against drug suspects they killed in operations.

“The UN OHCHR found that the police repeatedly recovered guns bearing the same serial numbers from different victims in different locations,” the report read.

In a 26-page report, the OHCHR said it examined police documents in 25 operations in Metro Manila, where 45 people were killed.

Cascolan, co-author of the reinvigorated Oplan Double Barrel that targets high-value drug personalities, had previously said cases should be built against major drug suspects and that small-time drug users and pushers should not be killed.

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