By Martin Sadongdong
Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas, regional director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), vowed on Friday to abide by whatever instructions that will be issued by Vice President Leni Robredo on the national government’s so-called war on drugs.
Robredo on Tuesday accepted President Duterte’s designation for her to become the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), along with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director Aaron Aquino.
Sinas agreed with the preference of Robredo on the possibility that drug war casualties be diminished, if not totally avoided, except when the lives of police officers will be at risk.
“Ayaw din namin ng patayan. But it is inherent for the police to defend ourselves. Kapag kami ay pinutukan ng una (If we are shot at first), we have to defend ourselves,” Sinas explained.
“We will abide whatever instructions of the Vice President but hindi naman siguro ipinagbawal sa manual namin (it is not probably prohibited in our manual) to defend ourselves in case na may barilan (if there’s shooting involved),” he added.
When Robredo accepted Duterte’s offer for her to be the drug czar, she said that the most important thing she considered was stopping the killings of innocent people and hold all of those reponsible accountable.
As of October 31 2019, ICAD figure showed a total of 5,779 drug suspects have died in police operations since the drug war started in June 2016.
This was lower than the figure released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in June 2019 where it said some 6,600 suspects have already been killed.
This was also aside from the numerous cases where unidentified gunmen, often motorcycle-riding assailants, kill drug suspects or dump their bodies with placards bearing statements that accuse the deceased of illegal activities.
The PNP has repeatedly claimed that drug suspects were often killed during operations because they resisted arrest.
Sinas maintained that the current anti-illegal drug operations of police officers in Metro Manila were “regular.”
To prove that, Sinas said he was willing to make arrangements for Robredo to join the operations to see for herself the police in action.
“Kapag available siya (If she’s available), we will [make arrangements],” he said.
“But of course, she’s the VP so importante po ang security baka mamaya hindi pumayag ang security detail niya (her security is important and her detail might not allow her). There are operations na we don’t sacrifice our leaders,” he added.
Read more: Robredo accepts drug czar post