President Rodrigo Duterte is awaiting the result of the investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice-led task force on extrajudicial killings into the death of nine activists during recent raids in Calabarzon, Malacañang said Monday.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte still has to comment on the issue.
“He’s awaiting results of the investigation. He cannot comment on something not knowing what actually transpired factually,” he said in a virtual press briefing.
Roque noted that the President has declared to protect police and military officers who use force while performing their tasks in the line of duty, but will never tolerate abuses.
“He (Duterte) has told the police that he is to stand by them if they are in compliance and in the discharge of their official duties, meaning that the use of force is because there is a threat to their lives. But if there’s no threat to their lives and they use force, they’ll be charged and punished,” he said partly in Filipino.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, in the same virtual presser, assured that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be fully cooperative in the probes about the Calabarzon raids.
“I assure the people that there will be an impartial, fair, and thorough investigation in these incidents that happened recently in the Calabarzon area,” Guevarra said.
Last March 7, nine individuals died in simultaneous police operations in the provinces of Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite. Rights groups said they were mere activists.
Six died in Rizal, two in Batangas, and one in Cavite while six people were arrested, three each in Laguna and Rizal, police reports showed.
Rights groups condemned the killings, but the PNP insisted that these raids were legitimate, saying that security forces had search warrants issued for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Aside from the task force, the Commission on Human Rights is also conducting a separate probe into the incidents. SOVEREIGNPH