As senators probe drug war deaths, Philippines’ police chief turns emotional
The Philippine police chief on Tuesday (September 5) gave an emotional denial during a Senate hearing into President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, insisting that Duterte never told him to “kill and kill.”
Duterte took office in June last year after winning an election on a vow to get tough on drugs and crime. He soon launched a “war on drugs” in which thousands of people have been killed, including a teenage boy and a college dropout in August which sparked protests and the Senate probe.
The country’s police general, nicknamed “Bato”, or “the rock”, turned emotional in the Senate inquiry broadcasted live nationwide as he was responding to questions about the killings of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz who were gunned down by policemen in August.
The two teens were killed in separate police operations where officers say they resisted arrest and fired first. Delos Santos was shot in a dark slum alley while Arnaiz in a police pursuit after allegedly robbing a cab driver.
According to police records, more than 3,800 people, most of them drug suspects, have died in police operations since July last year. Police say most were killed resisting arrest.
Rights groups suspect police, or gunmen working with the encouragement of police, were behind most killings – a claim the government denies.