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Fewer cops with human rights cases

The Philippine National Police yesterday reported a downtrend in the number of policemen facing human rights violation cases across the country in 2015 and 2016 despite intense criticisms about alleged rampant abuses in the second semester of last year due to the war against illegal drugs declared by President Duterte.

Based on the data of the Philippine National Police-Human Rights Affairs Office, 174 policemen were slapped with human rights violations in 2014 which include illegal arrest, arbitrary detention, and homicide.

Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo, head of the PNP-HRAO, said the number went down to 131 in 2015 and 105 in 2016 when the government launched the campaign against illegal drugs in July in which more than 2,000 suspected drug pushers and users were killed, 50,000 arrested, and more than a million surrendered to the police.

“There was really a downtrend despite the fact that there was a change of administration on the second half of last year,” said Siervo.

Siervo could not say how many of the cases involving 105 policemen were related to the campaign against drugs.

But Siervo said that based on their data last year, there was no proof that the first six months of anti-drugs campaign contributed to rise in human rights violations as alleged by local and international critics of Duterte who have repeatedly called out the bloody anti-drugs war.

“If you think the war on drugs will escalate cases of human rights violations, our statistics showed that it actually went down,” said Siervo.

But there was a significant increase in the number of policemen charged with human rights violations in the first three months of this year.

Siervo said from January to present, 56 policemen were charged with human rights violations, mostly homicide and unlawful arrest.

He did say how many of them were related to the campaign against illegal drugs. (AARON B. RECUENCO)