THE Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 said it will cooperate if the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) would intend to investigate deaths linked to its anti-drugs campaign.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, said that like the PNP, which is mandated to protect the rights to life, liberty, and property of victims, the CHR is also mandated by the Constitution to protect the rights of criminals and suspects.
If he made a statement that the PNP would welcome any probe by the CHR, “it is but an expression of willingness to cooperate with other government agencies and constitutional bodies like the CHR which are also mandated to serve the people.”
Bulalacao said they have nothing to hide because the police operations are done with regularity and with utmost respect for human rights.
Also, all police operations resulting in deaths, either among suspected criminals or law enforcers, are also investigated moto propio (by its own initiative) by the PNP Internal Affairs Service and PNP Human Rights Affairs Office.
“We assure our people that all our efforts are geared towards the attainment of an orderly and peaceful community which is beneficial to all Filipinos,” Bulalacao stressed.
The region’s top cop statement came in the heels of series of police anti-narcotics operations that resulted in the death of the suspects.
In a span of nine days, seven persons accused of drug peddling who allegedly put up a fight with the police were gunned down. The pattern in each case was eerily similar as most of the fatalities were armed with a revolver and a hand grenade.
The latest fatality is Rex Lagura, 55, barangay captain of Aldeguer village, Sara, Iloilo.
Lagura’s 50-year old wife Anita was physically unscathed but she was arrested for allegedly conspiring with her husband.
Just like the previous incidents, Anita claimed that her husband did not resist.
The six other fatalities are:
- Sept 5- Jonathan Baron, 56, an official of Jelicuon Montinola, Cabatuan;
- Sept 3- Jennifer Gobatanga, 32, and his cousin, Gayrell Gobatanga, 38, both natives of La Paz, Iloilo City at Barangay San Pedro in San Jose, Antique.
- Sept 2- Gabriel Poblacion at Zone 3, Barangay Tacas, Jaro, Iloilo City;
- Aug 29 – Richard Montefrio Gregori at Barangay Ungka 2, Pavia, Iloilo; and
- Aug 27- Alex Blanca Sr at Barangay Boulevard, Molo, Iloilo City