Protection of human rights ensured as PNP continues war on drugs

THE Philippine National Police leadership yesterday maintained anew that protection of human rights remains their premium policy as they aggressively continue their war on drugs and go after armed traffickers across the country this year.

“As an institution, let this be known to all, that we adhere to the rule of law, respect human rights, and value life. As any organization, we are not perfect. But this has not deterred us from intensifying internal cleansing to maintain discipline among our personnel and weed out from our ranks rogues, misfits and scalawags,” said PNP spokesman, Colonel Bernard M. Banac.

From July 1, 2016 to date, more than 6,600 armed drug offenders have been killed in shootouts with the police which also arrested 240,000 other known drug personalities and cleared over 11,000 barangays of illegal drug trafficking and abuse.

Officials said the country’s total crime volume went down to 38,000 last May compared to the 42,500 registered during the same month in 2018 with police attributing the significant crime reduction to the massive war on drugs ordered launched by President Duterte since July 201.

“However, despite this, we assure the public that the PNP remains committed to perform its mandate to enforce the law, dismantle drug syndicates, and assist the rehabilitation of drug users with transparency, and utmost respect for human rights,” said Banac.

The PNP spokesperson earlier reacted to an Ateneo School study which claimed there have been “vague or absent shortcuts” that compromise the rights to privacy and due process of drug personalities.

There were no revisions in the implementing circulars. We leave it to the Court to decide on constitutional and other legal issues.  But as a dynamic organization, the PNP will always remain open to listen, and understand ways how to best serve our people.

In fact, we have already introduced improvements in our law enforcement operations, such as the use of body cameras; the shift to reduction of drug supply by going after high value targets and big drug syndicates; the emphasis on adherence to rule of law and respect for human rights; and, the intensified PNP internal cleansing,” he said.

Banac added. “But, insofar as illegal drugs is concerned, make no mistake, the PNP will never fail to honor its commitment to enforce the law, destroy the illegal drug menace, and keep the peace and order in our land with transparency, adherence to the rule of law and utmost respect for human rights.”

The PNP spokesman assured that police are always under orders to adhere to the rule of law, obey prescribed standard operating procedures and respect human rights during all law enforcement operations.

This as National Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar revealed that the crime rate in the metropolis have gone down by 58 percent during the first three years of the Duterte administration and he attributed it to the effective anti-crime strategy and  increased public trust and confidence in the police which encouraged citizens to report crimes including those involving illegal drug trafficking and abuse.

The official said major crimes including murder and rape have declined by 57.69 percent in Metro Manila during the first 35 months of the Duterte administration. The other focus crimes are homicide, physical injuries, robbery, theft, and motor vehicle and motorcycle theft.

Eleazar said they recorded a 35.61 percent reduction in homicide cases;  51.07 percent reduction in cases of physical injuries; 70.16 percent reduction in cases of robbery;  63.33 percent reduction in cases of theft;  76.99 percent reduction in cases of motor vehicle theft; and  61.66 percent reduction in cases of motorcycle theft.

According to Banac, the total crime volume as reported by the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management nationwide likewise decreased to 115,539 during the 1st quarter of the year—or 3,963 incidents less—compared to the 119,502 crimes recorded during the same period in 2019.

PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde pointed out that the no-nonsense crackdown on illegal drug trafficking and abuse started by the PNP since July 2016 have made a major impact on the crime volume as it led to a great reduction in crimes against properties and persons.