BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan ordered the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) to fastrack the on-going investigation on the reported deaths while under investigation in the city to prevent unwarranted conclusions from the public that extra-judicial killings have been committed due to the government’s anti-drug campaign.
The local chief executive revealed that since the new administration took over and launched its aggressive anti-drug campaign, there were 30 deaths that were recorded in the city with four deaths resulting from legitimate police operations while 26 were described by the police as deaths under investigation.
Of these deaths under investigation, he claimed two were said to be drug pushers while 24 were alleged drug pushers from the different barangays of the city.
“We do not want the government’s anti-drug campaign to be tainted with allegations of extra-judicial killings that is why the police should come out with results of their investigations into the alleged deaths under investigation to allay the fears of the public that individuals suspected to be involved in the illegal drug trade could just be killed anytime,” Domogan stressed.
He admitted several months had lapsed but the BCPO has not yet submitted detailed reports on the real cause of the deaths under investigation which happened at the height of the government’s effort to curb the illegal drug trade nationwide.
According to him, the BCPO leadership was recently reminded to come out with constant updates on the status of these numerous deaths that happened in the different parts of the city to negate the impression of some quarters that those who were killed during the implementation of anti-drug operations were victims of extra-judicial killings.
He admitted the existence of deaths under investigation could be one of the down side of the government’s anti-drug campaign if the police cannot handle the situation properly, thus, the need for law enforcers to immediately come out with detailed updates on the cases so the public is aware of what really transpired during the said anti-drug operations.
Domogan admitted the government’s anti-drug campaign has contributed in improving the peace and order situation in the city because of the significant reduction in the crimes over the past several months.
However, he added there is a need for law enforcers to be vigilant because there might be some individuals and groups, especially the drug groups, who might take advantage of the situation and take the law into their own hands by assassinating their rivals in the trade and then blame the police as responsible for such incidents.
He claimed the fears of the people can only be allyed once there will be positive results in the reported deaths under investigation to send a clear message that the police is in control of the situation.
By Dexter A. See