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Sorry for the killings – PNP chief

Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has asked for forgiveness for the unabated killings in the campaign against illegal drugs – which he admitted will continue until the problem is fully solved.

In fact, Dela Rosa said the on-going crackdown on illegal drugs which has so far claimed more than 5,000 suspected pushers and users is already included in his prayer.

“Let me be frank. While I am begging for forgiveness for what is happening right now, I am also begging your indulgence to please understand if the killings will continue,” said Dela Rosa in an interview at Camp Crame.

Dela Rosa explained that they cannot just stop since the momentum is already with the PNP as far as the campaign against illegal drugs is concerned.

Based on the PNP data, a total of 2,124 suspected drug pushers and users were killed from July 1 to December 18.

This is on top of the more than 100 killings that occurred after the victory of President Duterte became clear after the May 10 canvassing – with authorities attributing it to erring policemen who started to eliminate all their men who could attest to their involvement to illegal drug trade.

On the other hand, a total of 3,993 people were killed by suspected vigilante groups since July 1across the country.

“We will not stop our war on drugs. Can we ask for advance forgiveness from the Lord? Maybe not, isn’t it. So let it just be Lord forgive us for what we have done,” said Dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa said the campaign against illegal drugs will continue as what President Duterte wants it to be.

The President earlier expressed willingness to have all drug pushers and users who would fight back to be eliminated. He said there were nearly four million of them in the Philippines.

“As what the President said, everything will stop – police operations, anti-narcotics operation – will stop if the drug problem stops. For as long as the problem is there, we will continue confronting that problem,” said dela Rosa.

“We cannot guarantee you that nobody will die again because for every action there is a corresponding reaction. The police are just reacting on the actions of the criminals,” he added.

Dela Rosa also was elated with the result of a Social Weather Station survey saying 85 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the campaign against illegal drugs of the Duterte administration. (AARON B. RECUENCO)