Central Luzon top cop disagrees with Amnesty International report

DISAGREES. File photo of Police Regional Office 3 - Central Luzon director Brigadier General Joel Napoleon Coronel with then Pampanga governor Lilia Pineda during a barangay officials gathering in 2018. Photo by Jun A. Malig

DISAGREES. File photo of Police Regional Office 3 - Central Luzon director Brigadier General Joel Napoleon Coronel with then Pampanga governor Lilia Pineda during a barangay officials gathering in 2018. Photo by Jun A.

Malig

PAMPANGA, Philippines – The director of the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) Central Luzon based in Camp Olivas in San Fernando City said he strongly disagreed with the Amnesty International (AI) report labeling Bulacan province as the “bloodiest killing field” in the government’s ongoing illegal drug operations.

Brigadier General Joel Napoleon Coronel said even police officers have died and were wounded in the line of duty in the  “war on drugs”

In a statement, Coronel said: “Our anti-illegal drugs operations in Region 3 is not confined in Bulacan alone but is being implemented region-wide with my solid directive that it must be done in accordance with the law and with utmost respect for human rights… (It)  has not solely taken its toll on slain drug pushers and users only who were killed during legitimate police operations. The men and women in uniform are also susceptible and are at risk,” he said.

Police records show, said Coronel, that during the “Project: Double Barrel” of the Philippine National Police,  4 Central Luzon policemen were killed and 12 seriously injured by suspected drug pushers from July 2016 up to the present.

Coronel was reacting the Amnesty International’s latest report  “They Just Kill,” published on Monday, July 8, which said “Bulacan is now the country’s bloodiest killing field, according to official figures."

All in all, official police records show that since July 1, 2016 – or when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office – up to February 2019, there have been 1,495 kills by Central Luzon cops. (READ: The Impunity Series)

And Bulacan earned the infamous label in the AI report because from that eye-popping number across Central Luzon, the province recorded 827 deaths of drug suspects from July 2016 up to February 2019.

The human rights group said the extrajudicial killings are “deliberate and systematic” in nature and appear to be part of a “government-orchestrated attack against poor people” allegedly involved in illegal drugs."

Coronel said that PRO3 does not condone “any unlawful demeanor perpetrated by any of our members especially during the conduct of anti-illegal drugs operations.”

He said that as part of the Philippine National Police’s internal cleansing program, 35 police officers were dismissed from service and 5 were suspended for their involvement in drug-related activities since 2016. – Rappler.com