Dispatch from Crame No. 888: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on PNP’s Proferred Justification for the Jolo Rubout


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We have to hand it to the PNP to offer the most absurd but, at the same time, the most convenient excuse for the killing of the four AFP intelligence troopers in Jolo, Sulu. Like a most repeated but overused refrain, the PNP points to Corporal Abdal Asula, one of the slain AFP operatives, as being involved in a so-called “drug matrix”, as if this in itself justifies the massacre of the AFP operatives and exculpate the PNP from liability for the cold-blooded murders.

First off, is the PNP saying that once someone is tagged in a “drug matrix”, the person is fair game for execution together with whoever happens to be with him at any given moment?

Second, what is even the value of the PNP’s so-called drug matrix? Does this constitute evidence of committing a crime under the Dangerous Drugs Act, or does it have the same value as the drug matrix presented by Duterte in the past against me and other public officials, which he then retracted (except the one concerning me) for being inaccurate, and after all law enforcement agencies denied any involvement in its preparation?

The PNP, for all intents and purposes, is convinced that the drug war is a justification for all their crimes, including extra-judicial killings, harassment, extortion, shakedowns, rape, etc. The drug war has been their tool for abuse, profusely used by the PNP to cover up their own criminal activities, illegal opportunities that opened up when they were basically given a license to commit almost any kind of atrocity in the guise of prosecuting Duterte’s war on drugs.

And now they dare use the same excuse on the AFP, that just because one of the soldiers is allegedly part of a “drug matrix”, they can massacre half a squad of AFP officers and enlisted men on the suspicion that one of them was involved in drugs. The fact is, we don’t even know how true are the allegations against Corporal Asula, because he was immediately shot and murdered and, like the thousands of EJK victims of the drug war, not given a chance to prove his innocence before a court of law.

Which therefore brings us full circle to everything that is wrong with the drug war: the summary execution of suspects even before they have been given a day in court. Inevitably, the AFP itself was given a taste of the arbitrariness and inhumanity of this method of the PNP in the drug war. And now that it is soldiers with guns who are also complaining, can we expect a change of heart in the PNP in its application of these murderous methods, methods that were honed in terrible efficiency the past four years of this Administration?

I do not think so. As long as it is the President himself who coddles these PNP executioners, rewarding them with bonuses, salary increases, housing projects, and what have you, for doing exactly what he wants them to do, there will never be an end to the PNP’s murderous and blatant abuse of its power. The AFP might as well wait until the next time a whole squad of its troopers is massacred by the PNP’s rampant killers.

Or, as was a possible scenario before Duterte went to Jolo to pacify them, they could always turn the country into its own version of the wild, wild west, where lawmen engaged in shootouts against each other, because they no longer have anything to do with being law enforcers, all of them having already being turned into outlaws in the absence of the rule of law. ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 888, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_888)

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