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WAR ON DRUGS | 'Bato' to probe case of drug assets allegedly killed by Antipolo cops

PNP chief General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa gestures as he fields senators' questions on the first day of the Justice committee hearing on extra-judicial killings. BERNARD TESTA, INTERAKSYON.COM
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA – The Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald M. Dela Rosa, on Monday vowed to give justice to the mother of a witness, who was allegedly executed by Antipolo policemen, after her father was killed in an encounter.

Testifying on the first of a two-day hearing called by the Senate Justice committee chaired by Senator Leila de Lima, Dela Rosa said that since a witness has surfaced on the killing of Rosalie Campos, the case could be more quickly prosecuted.

Pero ito ngayon na meron talaga tayong witness, i-prosecute talaga natin ang pulis na ito, itong mga involved na ito,” Dela Rosa said, in answer to questions posed by Senator Bam Aquino at the hearing on the rash of extra-judicial killings that have marred the administration's tough war on illegal drugs.

Dela Rosa was asked for his reaction to Mary Rose Aquino's revelation to senators that her parents, Rodelio and Rosalie Campos, were both killed by some members of the Antipolo Police who are their drug suppliers. Supposedly, the couple was rubbed out to cover the tracks of the rogue cops.

“Currently ho, nag-iimbestiga rin kayo among your ranks. Marami ho sa amin rito, nagugulat sa kuwento niya, na iyong pulis mismo ang nagsu-supply sa kanyang mga magulang ng droga. Ito po ba’y nakakagulat sa inyo o pangkaraniwang kuwento na ngayon?” Aquino said.

Dela Rosa replied candidly, “Hindi po [I'm not surprised], your honor." In fact, he added, "marami na tayong pulis na pinagtatanggal sa kanilang [we've already taken a number of policemen out of their] assignment. [We redeployed them to] Mindanao [because] through intelligence reports, [we learned about their] involvement [with]  drugs.”

In her testimony, Aquino said her parents went to a certain Rabe, an Antipolo policeman, to remit drug money on June 20, 2016, but they were later found dead.

Aquino asked Dela Rosa what he would do if he knew a certain police officer is involved in the drug trade, like the officers mentioned by Aquino.

"I will charge them, your honor. Like in this case, if this witness didn't surface, we'd have no evidence against these people. That's why we re-deploy people like them elsewhere, to disrupt their drug operations," said dela Rosa, speaking partly in Filipino. 

The PNP chief assured, nonetheless, that the PNP's Internal Affairs (IAS) does not stop gathering evidence to make these people accountable.

Dela Rosa also assured Aquino that he will go after all police officers, active or retired, who are involved in the drug trade.

“Hahabulin po namin,”Dela Rosa said.

Vigilante killings

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said he would focus on the vigilante killings which had not been addressed so far by the resource persons from PNP.

“Doon sa 1,500 na namatay, ang vigilante killings doon ay 800, sinasabi ng pulis, wala silang kinalaman doon. Gusto kong malaman mula sa kanila, ano naman ang ginagawa nila tungkol doon,” Recto said.

He suspects some killings were only associated with the war on drugs in order to escape prosecution; or some killings may have been done for vendetta.

“Iyong 800, mas marami pa nga, iyong may karatula, vigilante killing iyon, o maaring copy-cat killing, ginagamit ang war on drug upang pumatay?” Recto said.

What is EJK?

Also, Aquino urged the PNP to make a clear definition of extrajudicial killings.

“Kailangan talagang linawin iyong police action - ano iyong extra-judicial killing, ano iyong collateral damage?,” Aquino said in an interview after the hearing.

He said he will continue to dig deeper into the stories by witnesses on the death of their love oned when hearing resumes on Tuesday.

Aquino, speaking partly in Filipino, said he was gladdened by dela Rosa's remark that  “he would himself investigate the policemen named by the witness. That’s a good sign and hopefully, tomorrow he will be able to ellaborate on his plans to further cleanse the ranks of the PNP."