Drilon challenges Bato on arising deaths of drug suspects



Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon questioned on Tuesday the conflicting counts of drug-related deaths that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has presented to the chamber during its ongoing probe on the spate of killings in the country.

Drilon noted that during the first hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights on Monday, the PNP reported that it recorded 712 deaths during police operations and 1,067 outside of police operations or “deaths under investigation.”

But at the resumption of the hearing on Tuesday, PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa gave different figures—756 deaths during police operations and 1,160 other deaths under investigation.

“Sa kabuuhan po, kahapon sinabi nyo 1,779 ang namatay, itong araw na ito tumaas na ng 1,916. Ang ibig po bang sabihin sa nakalipas na 24 hours, 237 ang namatay (Overall, you said yesteryday that there were 1,779 deaths, today it increased to 1,916. Does it mean that in the past 24 hours, 237 died)?” Drilon asked. Drilon did not say where he got his figure of 237 deaths.

“Not necessarily your honor, nag a-update po kami, nag a-update po, your honor, mayroong bagong discovery. Mas ma-alarm po kayo, your honor, kung pinababa po namin yan—yung patay kahapon, ngayon buhay. Pero baligtad po, yung buhay kahapon ngayon namatay so nadagdagan po because of police operations, aggressive police operations,” dela Rosa said.

(Not necessarily your honor, we are updating, your honor, there were new discoveries. You would be more alarmed, your honor, if we decreased the figures—the dead people yesterday become alive today. But it’s the contrary, the alive people today were now dead so the number increased because of police operations, aggressive police operations)

“So ang ibig sabihin yung 712 kahapon ay kulang yun (So it means the figure 712 was not complete)?” the senator asked again. “Kulang, your honor, kasi kahapon pag-present ko, your honor, while I was presenting merong namamatay so nadadagdagan po ngayon, your honor (It was incomplete, your honor, because while I was presenting [the data], the number of deaths increased, your honor),” the PNP chief said.

“Bukas ba pag mag-hearing tayo ulit madagdagan ulit (So if we would hold another hearing tomorrow, it will increase again)?” Drilon asked to which the PNP answered: “Sigurado, your honor… madadagdagan pa (Certainly, your honor. It will increase).”

“Siguro, Madam chairman, huwag na taong mag-hearing baka madagagdan yung namamatay (Perhaps, Madam chairman, it would be better if we don’t hold hearing because the deaths might increase) every time we hear,” Drilon ended in jest.

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