The series of police operations in Calabarzon over the weekend that resulted in the death of nine people and the arrest of 15 others were “legitimate” as these were covered by search warrants, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Monday said.
“It’s a legitimate operation because they are covered by search warrants. Kung alam niyo kung gaano kahirap kumuha ng search warrants then naintindihan niyo you have to justify the charge, witnesses (If you know how difficult it is to get search warrants, then you understand that). Those are legitimate operations covered properly by the documents issued by the court,” Sinas told reporters when sought for comment on Monday.
Sinas said the simultaneous serving of search warrants on Sunday was implemented based on reports of illegal possession of firearms.
“Kung anong accusations nila (The accusations) is under investigation po but what it is very definite we have implemented a search warrant on illegal possession of firearms,” he added.
The PNP reported that nine people were killed in separate operations in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal.
The group Karapatan described the operations as “illegal.” It identified at least five of those killed and three arrested as members of several progressive groups.
Of the fatalities, six were recorded in Rizal, two in Batangas, and one in Cavite. Four persons eluded arrest, Sinas said.
The identities and affiliation of the suspects are still being identified, Sinas said.
Initial information showed that policemen conducted raids in the house or offices of the suspects by the virtue of search warrants for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Col. Chit Gaoiran, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office-4A (Calabarzon), said the suspects engaged the raiding team in a gunfight that resulted in their killing. She said the reports from concerned offices are still being consolidated.
A total of 24 search warrants, all for illegal possession of firearms, were issued by the courts and were simultaneously served. Various firearms and explosives were confiscated during the raid.Gaoiran said the operations were part of the campaign to eradicate the proliferation of loose firearms and explosives.