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Baste unfazed by CHR probe over war on drugs

MAYOR Sebastian “Baste” Duterte welcomed an investigation by the Commission on Human Rights over his recent declaration of war on drugs, which critics claimed led to the killing of seven suspects in various police buy-busts.

Last Friday, the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) relieved eight police officers following the deadly buy-busts that killed seven since March 22 in the wake of Mayor Sebastian Duterte’s threats for criminals to leave or lose their lives. 

“You know they should refer to my statement, what will they investigate? If something happened to the police, then I said that it was me, I did not order them, so far I have not met a pusher there who has not been killed,” the mayor said in an interview at the sidelines of the 21st commemoration of Sasa Wharf bombing on April 2.

“If they want to investigate, they can file a case with the city prosecutor’s office,” he said.

DCPO spokesperson Captain Hazel Tuazon said the move to relieve the eight law enforcers involved in different anti-drug operations was to comply with PNP Chief Benjamin Acorda’s directives.

“The DCPO is open for any investigation,” Tuazon said. “We always follow orders from the PNP’s higher office.”

Tuazon clarified that there was no directive to shoot down suspects. For instance, the operations that killed two came before the mayor’s warning.

According to DCPO data, more buy-bust operations resulted in arrests than fatalities from March 22 to 26. 

For instance, during the same five-day span, police arrested 17 individuals from 21 buy-bust operations. While resistance led to deaths, it was only because the suspects tried to shoot the arresting officers, Tuazon said. 

She also said the DCPO filed 22 cases with the prosecutor’s office against the arrested suspects. 

Authorities seized a significant amount of illegal drugs, including 242.64 grams of shabu and 60.36 grams of marijuana for a total estimated street value of P1,385,195.20.

Meanwhile, she said Duterte’s message at the March 22 turnover ceremony at DCPO grounds underscored the collaboration needed to combat drug activity. The chief executive urged barangay captains to organize their communities and assist the police in their efforts against illegal drugs. 


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