WATCH | ‘Tokhang’ in Bulacan, NCR | Palace says it’s the norm; Bato says deaths spiked because of those ‘nanlaban’

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Reuters file photo of the body of a drug suspect killed in what police said was a shoot-out.

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the uproar against the upsurge in drug-related killings, Malacañang on Friday defended the police’s anti-narcotics operations in Bulacan and Metro Manila.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the “norm is to address criminality” and what the police did in their operations “is simply a method, a particular way of doing things.”

“But that’s not the endgame,” he added.

What would also become disturbing is if authorities didn’t act to solve the drug crimes as these would result into more crimes such as raping women and minors, according to Abella.

“I think…the fact that what is also equally alarming is that when we did not face these things, that…there was violence all over the land. I mean, old women being raped, babies being raped,” he said.

Police operations against suspected drug users and dealers in the Greater Manila Area that started last Tuesday resulted in heavy bloodshed in Bulacan with 32 fatalities, Manila with 25 dead, and in the Camanava (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela) area with 18 neutralized.

‘Magtaka kayo kung patay lahat’

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa also defended the police’s “one-time, big-time” operations, saying there was no instruction for authorities to become trigger-happy.

According to Dela Rosa, the number of fatalities spiked because apprehended individuals resisted arrest and fought with authorities, giving the latter no option but to retaliate.

Magtaka kayo kung patay lahat. Eh kaso, maraming buhay na nahuli. So namatay ‘yong lumalaban lang talaga,” the PNP chief said on Thursday.

[You should wonder if all those arrested died. But there are many of them who are alive. So the only ones who died were those who fought.]

Wala man tayong instructions sa taon natin na pumatay nang pumatay. Ba’t gusto n’yo pulis mamatay palagi pag may operation?” he added.

[We didn’t have instructions to our people to just kill and kill. Do you want the police to always die when there’s an operation?]

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