Rights group wants probe on ‘hitmen-cops’
An international human rights watchdog has called on the government to form an independent commission that would look into the alleged involvement of police officers in the killing of people supposedly involved in illegal drugs.
Human Rights Watch made the call after Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas, chief of the PNP for the Central Visayas region, was quoted as saying that some of the hitmen hired by drug lords were retired military or police officers.
“The admission by a senior police official that police officers are working as hitmen for drug syndicates is yet more evidence of Philippine government complicity in ‘drug war’ killings,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Monday.
“Given the total failure of the police to stop these abuses, it’s clear that any serious investigation of the police role in the war on drugs needs full independence,” he added.
The HRW stressed that the said commission should be completely independent from the Office of the President and the Philippine National Police and should include investigators from the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) and representatives from non-governmental organizations.
In a report by the Cebu Daily News last week, Sinas said he believed some policemen were serving as hitmen of drug personalities in the Central Visayas, particularly in Cebu.
“Kinsa man ni sila (hitmen)? Most likely retired nga army o mga pulis. Or naa pa gani aktibo wala lang ta kahibalo,” said Sinas.
(Who are these hitmen? Most likely these are retired military or police officers. Or there are active police officers we just don’t know.)
He said drug personalities hired retired military or police officer because of their expertise.
“Kung dismissed or retired ang usa ka pulis unsay expertise? Firearms and security. So naa siyay dala-dala nga expertise mao ni gipangita sa ilaha (by the drug groups),” Sinas said, noting that these alleged police hitmen were scalawags in their ranks.
(What is the expertise of a dismissed or retired police officer? Firearms and security. So this person who has this kind of skills is what is needed by the drug groups.)
Adams stressed that “it’s time for an independent commission to be created to officially identify those responsible and begin the process of accountability for mass murder.”
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