The video footages do not lie.
The most truthful documentation that extrajudicial killings exist under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has been made and no amount of denial, spin or cover-up can controvert this fact.
On October 11, 2017, at least fifteen (15) armed anti-drug operatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP) conducted a midday raid and stormed Barangay 19 in Tondo, Manila City where three (3) men were shot and pronounced dead on arrival (DOA) in the hospital.
Police report says that one of the casualties, sixty-year old Rolando Campo, sold drugs to an undercover officer who signaled for back-up. Campo “sensed the presence” of the police officers and ordered his two associates – Sherwin Bitas, 34, and Ronnie Cerbito, 18 – to draw their guns and open fire on them. The operatives were forced to fight back and in the process inflicted mortal wounds to the three that caused their death.
However, footages of closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the area which was recovered by Reuters belie the official police account of the bloody October 11 operation.
In one of the above-mentioned footages, Campo was seen chatting with people in the neighborhood in the minutes before the police arrive and not selling drugs to a supposed undercover officer, contrary to what the report says.
Reuters was able to obtain footages from all four security cameras, each capturing the episode from a different angle which, if taken together, provide a unique record of a police operation from start to finish.
Superintendent Santiago Pascual, the commander of the station that conducted the deadly raid, insisted that the operation orchestrated by his men was legitimate and was done in accordance with the standard operational procedure.
Curiously, the Oct. 11 raid a day was carried out one day after Duterte ordered the PNP to leave the anti-drug operations to the state-run Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
So on what authority did the operatives conducted the purported buy-bust operation on October 11 if the PNP were already directed by the president not to be involved in any drug war-related operations?
Gen. Rolando “Bato” Dela Rosa, instead of ordering the investigation of the circumstances leading to the death of three person under the hands of his men, questioned the timing of the Reuters report when the waging of the drug war is to be returned back to the police.
“They are timing the release of the damaging reports just when the war on drugs is about to be returned to the PNP. It means there are enemies who do want the war on drugs to be given back to us,”
Says the general who will be retiring soon and who is reported to be entertaining the idea of running as senator in 2019.
Worse, Dela Rosa practically absolved the policemen who participated in the October 11, 2017 operation from any fault or wrongdoing just two days after it was carried out.
Arlene Gibaga, wife of Bitas, said she actually saw how the policemen opened fire to her husband and the other two men who were all unarmed during that time.
According to Gibaga’s narration of what she witnessed to Reuters, the policemen detained the men including his husband in an alley next to her house and asked her to get her husband’s ID. When she produced it, one officer shouted “Positive! Positive!” and then that was the time the operatives fired on Bitas.
Another witness to the Barangay 19 killings told Reuters that the three men were summarily executed and not shot in self-defense, contrary to the contention of the police.
The footages of the CCTV revealed questionable, irregular and possibly unlawful and criminal practices of the police during operations.
First, the disabling or unplugging of surveillance cameras at crime scenes by the police.
In one of the footages, an officer is seen turning the camera that captured the action away from the scene.
Second is how the police treat or handle the lifeless bodies or wounded casualties after the operations.
Police says that they try save lives by rushing wounded people to the hospital. However, video footages of the fateful day of October 11 show how the police took at least twenty five (25) minutes to haul away the men they had shot with no signs of life. The police were also seen carrying them by their arms and legs and loading their limp bodies like pigs onto pedicabs to take them to hospital.
Thus, it appears that the act of bringing the dead bodies to the hospital was merely a front to disrupt the crime scene or to cover up the State-sponsored murders.
October 11, 2017 is another sad day for the rule of law, presumption of innocence and the sanctity and inviolability of life. But, by divine intervention, the footages of everything that have transpired during the bloody police raid can be used as a catalyst in order to end this madness.
A petition is pending before the Supreme Court questioning the legality of Duterte’s anti-people and murderous drug war. A complaint is pending before the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging the Philippine president with crimes against humanity for the death of thousand of Filipinos in the name of the said drug war. The footages of the October 11, 2017 operation is helpful in proving routines or practices by police operatives or in establishing a standing policy of the government.
The video footages do not lie and the so-called protectors of the people were caught on camera murdering the Filipino people.