MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will not allow scalawag police officers to get away with their crimes, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this comment after Duterte on Monday bared that he ordered a “discreet” probe into extrajudicial killings (EJKs) being blamed on his administration.
“I keep on telling that the people that the President is a lawyer, he was a criminal lawyer, he is a prosecutor, he prosecuted murder cases, he knows the elements of murders, and while he has taken the side of the state in almost all the instances that I’ve heard, where there’s evidence that in fact there was unnecessary use of force and the use of force was not proportionate as such as the killing of Kian, then he will order the prosecution of the erring state actors,” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.
He was referring to the case of teen Kian Delos Santos whose controversial death has been linked to the administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs.
In November 2018, the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) sentenced three police officers to up to 40 years in prison for the victim’s murder.
Roque, meanwhile, floated the possibility that Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP) head Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain could have been instructed to conduct a discreet probe on EJKs.
The OSAP is under the Office of the President.
“My experience has been if he wants something looked into, he calls on USec Quitain. This is the case for all graft cases, and I suppose all investigations that he wants to be done is referred to USec Quitain and USec Quitain is a very low-profile person but delivers very well,” he said.
However, Roque did not categorically say that Quitain was in charge of the investigation into alleged human rights violations.
Besides Quitain, Roque said Duterte might also have referred to the Department of Justice-led task force to look into the 5,655 deaths in the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“The DOJ formed an inter-agency committee to look into the killings. This could be what the President referred to,” he said. (PNA)