WITH the Philippine National Police resuming its Oplan Tokhang, the regional Commission on Human Rights (CHR-7) said it hopes that it would also mark the end of extrajudicial killings in the country.
“I hope there will be a shift to non-lethal force,” CHR-7 chief investigator Leo Villarino said.
He said the suspension of Oplan Tokhang last Jan. 30 also lowered the incidence of EJKs.
“There hasn’t been much killings compared to the previous months. But now that the Oplan Tokhang and the anti-drugs operations have been revived, I hope the killings will not go up,” he said.
Villarino clarified that CHR-7 continues to monitor possible cases of extrajudicial killings in Central Visayas.
“We stopped releasing figures to the media because our numbers might not differ with that of the police. But we continue to track down cases of this so-called extrajudicial killings,” he said.
He said the CHR-7 is monitoring the killings based on news reports. Villarino said their office also continues to entertain walk-in complainants.
So far, Villarino said they are investigating 40 cases of extrajudicial killings, most of which involved policemen who go after drug suspects in what they described as legitimate operations.
He said they have requested concerned policemen or their units to submit the post-operation reports for them to determine whether or not the killings were intentionally done.
Lawyer Diana de Leon of the CHR’s Human Rights Protection Office in Manila earlier requested all its regional offices to investigate what could be cases of summary executions.
Villarino said they had to prioritize cases based on the availability of witnesses and the willingness of the victims’ families to cooperate.
Based on the data of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), at least 157 drug suspects were killed in police operations in the region, while 352 others were gunned down by unknown assailants since July 1.
The police also seized at least 22,046.58 grams of shabu worth P260.14 million.
The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) is also following up on its invitation to Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III and other provincial officials to join their relaunched Oplan Tokhang operations.
Noble said they are considering to invite him to their operation at Cordova town. /With Correspondent Izobelle T. Pulgo