Bato: War on drugs to take much more lives
The war on drugs will continue and “more lives will be lost along the way,” whether that of criminals or lawmen, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said on Thursday. Dela Rosa called on his men to continue the fight, “survive gunfights” and “stay alive,” when he visited the wake of SPO4 Edmar Bumagat who was killed in an operation in Makati City on Wednesday. Bumagat was part of a team that was serving an arrest warrant on Angelo Tampos. The murder suspect allegedly grabbed the policeman’s gun and engaged him in a scuffle until the gun went off.
Bumagat was hit in the head while Tampos was killed by another policeman, PO3 Aries Benico, according to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO). “We are far from over,” Dela Rosa told reporters. “We have just finished the first month in the war against drugs. We still have five months to go. More lives will be lost along the way. Be it the lives of criminals or lives of my men.” More than 500 drug suspects have been killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs and criminality. Bumagat was among the members of the NCRPO’s Regional Police Intelligence Operations Unit (RPIOU) who came to arrest Tampos based on the warrant issued by Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 136 for a murder case. Tampos was shot dead at his residence on Constancia Street, Barangay Olympia, around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday. He was believed to be a contract killer and a courier working for Norman Manete, an alleged drug pusher operating in Makati, who earlier “surrendered” under the PNP’s Oplan Tokhang campaign.
Dela Rosa condoled with the Bumagat family at Rizal Funeral Homes in Pasay City, extending financial assistance to the policeman’s widow Genair and their daughter. Addressing fellow officers, he said: “You should survive in a gunfight. Don’t wait for your family to be like this, to lose a father. That’s my word to police personnel all over the Philippines. That is my advice for you: stay alive.” Asked to comment on an eyewitness account reported on TV that Tampos was not really the one who shot Bumagat, Dela Rosa said all angles would be investigated—but that the public should also stop sowing intrigue.
“The person (Bumagat) is already dead and you come up with a story that a fellow policeman killed him. There’s the enemy who shot it out with them, there’s the dead criminal. Let’s not further hurt the family who is already in grief,” Dela Rosa said. Bumagat was assigned to RPIOU only on July 13. He was previously an outpost commander in Barangay San Perfecto, San Juan City. He was also a former member of the elite Special Action Force.