MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III blasted the Philippine National Police, including Director General Ronald dela Rosa, saying “criminals are being emboldened” by law enforcers’ perceived “incompetence,” following the murder of a councilor of Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro and his teenage son.
On Tuesday, motorcycle-riding gunmen shot dead Councilor Melchor Arago, 52, as he drove up to his home. They then gunned down the official’s son Kenneth, 15, as he went out of the house.
Picking up on Dela Rosa’s diatribe against critics of the police, who the PNP chief called “ingrates” for complaining even as they “enjoyed” the safety brought about by the government’s war on drugs, Pimentel asked: “Where is the peace and order that [PNP Chief] dela Rosa says the people are ungrateful for?”
The aggressive anti-narcotics campaign waged by the Duterte administration is believed to have claimed more than 13,000 lives and counting since last year and has reaped criticism for the country from human rights experts and organization as well as foreign governments.
“Criminals are being emboldened by what they see as the incompetence of the PNP in catching them,” Pimentel said, citing PNP figures that place drug-related deaths between July last year to this September at 6,225, 2,290 of these “deaths under investigation.”
He called the number of unsolved killings unacceptable.
“One homicide is one unnecessary death too many. Add the large number of unsolved killings, made worse by some of the victims being minors, and you start wondering what the police is there for,” Pimentel said.
Anger over the killings spiked following the deaths of teenagers Kian Lloyd delos Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz in what police claim were shootouts but subsequent investigations indicated may have been coldblooded executions.
“The Filipino people deserve a modern, professional, and capable police force. Right now, the PNP is none of the above. We need to take radical action to change this state of affairs,” Pimentel said.