PNP Chief: 'One-time, big-time' anti-crime operations to continue

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Friday that the police will continue its "one-time, big-time" operations against crime and illegal drugs.


His statement came after 69 suspects were killed and over 250 were arrested in police operations in Bulacan, Caloocan and Manila this week.

Read: 14 suspected drug pushers killed in one-night police anti-crime drive in Manila

"The instruction of the President since day one of his administration is the same," Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines' New Day. "But in-emphasize niya uli during our police service anniversary that our war on drugs is unrelenting, so no let-up sa aming war on drugs. So tuluy-tuloy po ito."

[Translation: During our police service anniversary, he emphasized again that our war on drugs is unrelenting, so there will be no let-up in our war on drugs. These operations will continue.]

The PNP Chief said Wednesday that the term "one-time, big-time" is a "synchronized, simultaneous, service of warrant, or buy-bust operation."

Read: 14 suspected drug pushers killed in one-night police anti-crime drive in Manila

'Wanted: Dead or Alive'

Dela Rosa said Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte's "narco-list," which contains personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade, still has numerous suspects.

"Makapal pa rin," he said. "I presume merong natanggal at merong nadagdag kasi continuous po yung validation."

[Translation: It's still thick. I presume some people were removed and some were added because the validation is continuous.]

Dela Rosa added that they plan to release posters of suspects with arrest warrants.

"Tuluy-tuloy po yung ating operasyon hangga't andiyan sila," he said. "In fact, yung ibang mga suspek ay magpapalabas tayo ng poster "Wanted: Dead or Alive" yung ibang hinahanap natin."

[Translation: We will continue our operations until these suspects are still free. In fact, we will release "Wanted: Dead or Alive" posters for other suspects that we are looking for.]

Violations will be probed

Dela Rosa said any alleged human rights violations in these operations will be investigated.

"We never tolerate abuses," he said. "Antayin natin yung kanilang akusasyon [Let's wait for them to make accusations]."

Vice President Leni Robredo, who believes human rights must be respected in the government's drug war, expressed her alarm over the deaths in the Bulacan and Metro Manila operations.

"Kung mayroong kasalanan, papanagutin, pero kailangan iyong due process, isinasaalang-alang," she said at a Naga City event on Thursday. "Kapag mayroong ganitong patayan, gustong sabihin may mga taong nilalagay sa sarili nilang kamay iyong batas. Hindi na hinahayaang gumiling pa iyong mga proseso na nasa Konstitusyon natin para siguruhin na iyong hustisya nabibigay para sa lahat."

[Translation: If they are guilty, make them liable, but there should be due process. If there are these kinds of killings, it means persons  put the law into their own hands. They are not allowing constitutional  processes that will ensure that justice is served equally.]

Human rights group Amnesty International in an investigative report released in February 2017 said police officers are allegedly paid as much as ₱15,000 for every drug suspect they kill.

Read: War vs. poor: Police paid per drug killing – Amnesty International

However, Dela Rosa said there is no order to kill suspects.

"Hindi man namin gustong mamatay yung mga tao," he said. "Sino naman gustong pumatay ng kapwa-Pilipino? But we have to protect ourselves also. Kung ang intention ng pulis ay patayin talaga yung tao, bakit marami kaming nahuli and then buhay man?"

[Translation: We don't want the suspects to die. Who wants to kill a fellow Filipino? But we have to protect ourselves also. If the intention of our police officers is to kill suspects, why have we captured so many alive?]

Dela Rosa said the fatalities in the operations in Bulacan and Manila were because the suspects fought back.

"Marami ang nakipagbarilan sa ating kapulisan [Many suspects engaged in a shootout with our police officers]," he said. "So we have to defend ourselves."