Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino contradicted Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa for concluding that rape-slay cases are increasing because the police were removed from the war against drugs.
Aquino said that if there was indeed an increase in crimes involving rape and murder, the responsibility falls on the PNP, not PDEA, and it remains so even if they are pulled out from the drug war.
“It is their responsibility. Let us be clear that anti-criminality is their job, it is not ours. If there was an increase in the supply and demand on illegal drugs, that’s our problem, but if there was an increase in crime like rape, it is not our problem,” he said on November 30.
Aquino’s statement came after dela Rosa told reporters on November 17 that when PNP was still involved in the campaign against illegal drugs, rape cases declined, but these increased again when the police were removed from the campaign.
“Rape cases significantly declined during our war on drugs. Now that we’re no longer involved in the war on drugs, the (cases) increased again,” the PNP chief said at a press briefing.
He mentioned the case of the rape and death of 22-year-old bank employee Mabel Cama and the Bulacan massacre, but did not provide data to prove his claim on the rising rape-slay cases.
The Philippine Star’s report on dela Rosa’s claim that there were no rape incidents during the first six months of the drug war. They noted the news reports on such incidents from June to December 2016.
The police were pulled out from the drug war amid allegations of extrajudicial killings and abuse during their operations.
Aside from the PNP, President Rodrigo Duterte also ordered on October 10 to stop the National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Customs, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Postal Corp, and other government agencies from initiating anti-illegal drug operations to avoid conflict.
The PNP chief further said that there is a “huge” possibility that the rape-slay cases are linked to the country’s drug problems.
“Definitely, no one in his right mind would rape and kill a woman and even set her on fire if you are in your right mind, if you are not high on drugs, if you are not an addict,” Dela Rosa said.
“I don’t want to insinuate to the public that that is the reason but that’s a glaring, glaring reality. That’s a fact, that is happening,” he added.
Aquino refuted this claim by dela Rosa.
“What was their basis for that? If there is rape, the offender was high on drugs? Give me the basis and statistics to prove those claims,” Aquino said.
He said that even if the PNP would return to the drug operations, it does not guarantee that there will be more rape incidents since they were also unable to stop such during their combined efforts before Duterte ordered the PNP’s removal from the campaign.
“Was the number of rape cases reduced when the PNP and PDEA jointly led the war on drugs?” he said.
What the Commission on Human Rights noticed though was the fewer cases of killings when PDEA was given sole authority to conduct the war on drugs.
“We have noticed that when the campaign was transferred to PDEA, while (the killings) did not stop, the number of deaths has decreased,” CHR Chairman Chito Gascon said.
“We are hoping that with the return of the police in the operations against drugs, they will follow operational procedures on use of force and hopefully the number of deaths will not increase,” he further said.
However, there have been no official figures yet on the deaths involved in PDEA-led campaign.
Gascon made his remarks after Duterte ordered for the PNP to once again hold the rein in the war on drugs.
He promised that the commission will continue to watch the PNP in conducting its operations against prohibited drugs and will call them out if they find irregularities.
Sources: ( philstar.com )