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By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag September 10,2016 - 10:57 PM

 Police Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo, Chief of the Philippine National Police-Human Rights Affairs Office says they are closely monitoring police operations especially those that involve deaths of suspects. The PNP-HRAO is going around the country doing lectures on human rights and proper police procedures. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Police Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo, Chief of the Philippine National Police-Human Rights Affairs Office says they are closely monitoring police operations especially those that involve deaths of suspects. The PNP-HRAO is going around the country doing lectures on human rights and proper police procedures. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Police operations that result in the death of suspects will be investigated following accusations of abuse in the illegal drug campaign.

Chief Supt. Dennis A. Siervo, chief of the Philippine National Police-Human Rights Affairs Office, said there have been 16,000 police operations against drugs nationwide with 1,466 deaths from July to September this year.

He said the PNP-HRAO is closely monitoring these investigations and determining the areas where there are many reported deaths during police operations.

He said the PNP-HRAO is also actively conducting seminars and lectures for the police to remind them to strictly follow police procedures and not to commit abuses.

“In fact, there have been (police) that (sic) were dismissed. After that, we will file a case of human rights violations, not just criminal cases,” Siervo added.

The PNP Internal Affairs Service has so far filed 376 cases against police personnel.

“Basta naay namatay, ikaso na lang para ma desisyonan sa korte if self-defense ba gyud na or there was irregularity during the conduct of operation (When there are deaths, charges are filed so that the court can determine if it was really self-defense or if there was irregularity during the conduct of operation),” Siervo told CDN.

All operations resulting in the killing of the suspects will be investigated, and cases will be filed immediately.

“The court should be able to resolve it. Para ma-resolve dayon. (So it can immediately be resolved.) Why? Because we want a res judicata [a decision that binds other similar cases] on these cases,” he added.

Legal Team

Police Regional Director Noli Taliño, however, said policemen should not worry about lawsuits from people claiming to be victims of police brutality and abuse since PRO-7 has a legal team composed of retired justices, judges, government prosecutors and private law practitioners who recently bonded together to defend policemen slapped with charges while in the performance of their official duties.

The group is headed by retired Court of Appeals Justice Isaias Dicdican and retired Judge Silvestre Maamo Jr. of the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City.

“Our legal volunteers are ready,” Taliño said.

Siervo, meanwhile, said, “We will defend ourselves within the bounds of the law. We have to follow procedures. Human rights come into play if we violate the basic laws. The right to life, liberty and property. So we will subject suspects to due process of law.”


From July 1 to August 31, 89 suspected drug pushers were killed in police operations in Central Visayas while 97 others were gunned down by still unidentified assailants, Taliño said.

Nationwide, there have been six verified cases of human rights violations involving 10 police personnel according to Siervo.

“We don’t want to kill them (drug suspects), but we just want to arrest them and take them out because they will just endanger the lives of the people,” Siervo said.

But if the suspects intend to kill, police will apply the full force of the law to neutralize them, Siervo said.

Around 900,000 houses have been “visited” by the PNP. Their records show that there have been 709,527 surrenderers while 1,466 suspects were killed during operations nationwide.

In Central Visayas, records of PRO-7 showed that from July 1 to August 31, there were 998 anti-illegal drugs operations which resulted in the arrest of 1,475 persons. At least 1,636 drug cases were filed in court.

Police confiscated a total of 3,539.31 grams of shabu worth P41.8 million based on the estimated value of the Dangerous Drugs Board.

At least 67,312 drug users and 4,985 drug pushers also surrendered to the different police stations in the region during the implementation of Oplan Tokhang, a program wherein policemen knocked on the houses of identified drug suspects and encouraged them to cooperate with authorities.

The number of surrenderers is way higher than the 8,000 individuals who were in the list of PRO-7 as drug peddlers and users.

Siervo said everyone has equal rights. “However, the reaction is not equal. Some resist. You don’t expect the same results. But the laws are equal. So we implement it,” he added.


Meanwhile, lawyer Gonzalo Malig-on, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu Chapter, urged the police to conduct an investigation on cases of extrajudicial killings, including those killed in police operations.

“As lawyers, we will always oppose extrajudicial killings. We should uphold the rule of law at all times. There must be an investigation because it’s also not fair to attribute some killings to the police,” he said in a phone interview.

Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said they welcome any investigation and maintained that drug suspects killed in police operations engaged operatives in a shootout.

“If their lives are in danger, our policemen have to defend themselves. When the smoke clears after an encounter, drug pushers should drop to the ground while policemen are standing up,” Taliño said

“We’re open to any probe, and we will cooperate,” said Taliño, stressing that he personally would not tolerate abuses done by policemen, including extrajudicial killing of criminals.

He said he had ordered all police offices to probe cases of summary executions, including those believed to be perpetrated by policemen.

Killing criminals is wrong, and extrajudicial killings must stop, he said.


The Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) is looking into all cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in the region — a move welcomed by PRO-7.

“We conducted a background check on the victims, and we found out that all of them were into illegal drugs. But we won’t allow vigilante-style killings. Only law enforcers can implement the law,” said Taliño.

The all-out anti-crime campaign, especially against illegal drugs, was credited for the 6.9 percent decline in the total crime volume in the region, or from 31,482 from January to July last year to 29,302 over the same period this year.

In July 2016 alone, a month after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed his post, the total crime volume in Central Visayas went down to 4,264. The number is 447 less or 9.5 percent lower than July 2015’s crime volume.

But while cases of robbery, theft, rape, physical injuries and gambling have gone down, incidents of murder and homicide have increased.

Human Rights Violation Forum

On October 6, Siervo will be back in Cebu City for a Human Rights Violation Forum with nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

This is the second in the country after Davao City last Friday.

The forum will educate the public on the role and mandate of the Commission on Human Rights and the PNP-HRAO.

Siervo said they will also tackle police operation procedures during the forum.

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TAGS: Cebu, CHR, Commission on Human Rights, drug suspects, drugs, human rights, operations, Philippine National Police, PNP, police, vigilante killings, war

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