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An honor student who was also a member of the church choir, was

shot to head because she was (allegedly) a drugs dealer. But what if she is
not? O sure, there are brilliant students who deal into drugs. But what if
she is not? O surely there are members in the church be it choir or any
other part who are into dealing drugs. But what if she is not?

What is she is not a drug dealer?

Why did he vote for Duterte? We may ask, how many of those killed
actually voted for him in the last elections?

Young Blood

In my burgis opinion

It was in December 1948, in Paris, after World War II, when the Universal Declaration on
Human Rights was proclaimed. Recently, Paris tremendously suffered. Orlando, too, because
of gays. Pakistan, because of feminism. Now the Philippines, because of drugs.
At this writing, our country has a death toll of more than 400 because of antidrug operations.
And thats just in a span of two months. Many Filipinos are not even concerned, or interested
in looking up the names of the slain. In fact, only a handful will bother to look up the names
on the kill list. Many just hail the killings the way we hail saints to bring us peace.
Reports detail how our police storm into unknowing areas. Student activists plaster cardboard
signs on their chests and protest spread-eagled on the sidewalks. Senators oppose the killings
in privilege speeches. University heads protest. Commentators criticize how police target the
poor but do not go into the elite communities, and how they shoot without investigation. They
put the public in danger, making communities feel unsafe.
And unsafe it was when I took a taxi on the way home one very late working night.
Conversations with cabbies are something I look forward to, because they take me to places.
But what I anticipate more are their different takes on issues, because I like conducting social
So I brought up the killings and asked if they were of any use. Kuya, effective bang
pinapatay nila ang mga adik?
He exclaimed in agreement: Oo naman!
Papano po, kuya, yung inosenteng binabaril? I asked. What if they were innocent?

He laughed, said the killings were good and made drivers like him safe. Said that I wouldnt
know, that I hadnt seen enough, that bourgeois youth like me are unaware of the danger
drivers face. Buti nga yun mapatay na lang sila lahat. Para safe kaming mga driver. Hindi
mo alam yung nadulot na mabuti nyan, hindi mo naman naiikot ang Maynila. Kayong mga
batang burgis, hindi naman kayo naglalakad kaya hindi nyo alam pag kami ang nasa
I had to stop at that tangent response. Not only because it had too much prejudice and
selfishness, but also because he rejoiced at the death of other people. I knew the conversation
would get nowhere. It angered me, how he said it so simply, and even with mixed amusement.
But his comment isnt unfamiliar. We turn on our smartphones today and we see headlines on
extrajudicial killings and human rights violations on any news feed. Comment sections are
the worst, said a journalist-friend, because people vilify those who mention human rights.
There are petty reactions that ridicule death. I keep wondering if they would say the same
without the mask of a Facebook account.
So Ive tried to engage in conversations with Duterte supporterseducated people with PhDs,
fish-ball vendors, students, grocery baggers, workers in the development sectorjust to hear
their views on human rights. But I still get tangents, not responses, to the core issue. Not one
has been able to give sound counterarguments on the topic. When you bring it up, you get
template replies such as Burgis ka kasi , Its not the first time this is happening here,
How much were you paid by the Aquinos? and So you would prefer that our drug lords run
rampant and ruin lives by making more addicts?
The absence of logic is insulting. My lifestyle or wealth may influence my opinion, but why
in the world would I condone the perils of what drug lords have created? When I speak about
human rights, I am immediately branded as prodrugs, or someone who worships the Liberal
Party. It isnt the first time human rights are violated in the country, but we should ask
ourselves why it is encouraged today, and why many turn a blind eye to the bloodshed. The
violations of Filipinos rights are splattered across the pages of our history books, and yet,
here we are on a new battleground, adding many more names to the desaparecidos.
You know why there hasnt been a logical take on supporting extrajudicial killings? Because
there is none. Because beyond the stubborn answers and the below-the-belt bashing, we know
that murder is plainly wrong.
This isnt about politics, as many Filipinos see it, or prefer to believe. If Mar Roxas or Grace
Poe were the ones ordering the killings with an iron fist, Id be writing with an even harsher
tone. In fact, political parties should be set aside in dealing with a drug war. Its not about the
color of the flag we wave, its about being human. Before we back any political party, we are
Filipinos, and before we are Filipinos, we are human beings. We can demand safety. It is
everyones right. But many need the reminder that rights come with responsibilities, and there
is a responsibility of vigilance for the right to life. This justice of having a trial, and that right
to life, should be equally shared by all of us, even by those who do drugs, and even if theyve
ruined other peoples lives.
I do not like it when people pose on the rest of us the Duterte religion into which many seem
to have been baptized since the campaign period. Put him on a pedestal all you want, and
praise the good actions that he is doing, but also be a discerning citizen. He is not infallible. I
admire his political will and some of his motives, and I agree that change has to come to the
Philippines in many ways. But never in my heart can I agree that people should be killed
without evidence and trial.

Do me a favor, fellow Pinoy, and read what Latin American presidents have said about their
own drug wars, and how they started down a path where violence begets violence. They admit
their failure and are troubled on what to do. In fact, they are warning the rest of the world not
to make the same mistake. To quote Fernando Cardoso, former president of Brazil: The war
on drugs is an unmitigated disaster Drugs are not first and foremost a matter for the
criminal justice system. Read the cases on drug-addict criminalization in Colombia and Peru,
and how their leaders conclude it should never have been that way. Drugs were never the root
problem. Read, just so well have informed opinions in the comments section.
I do not want a similar endless cycle of violence for my country, and I stand against the
heinous crimes of a point-to-blame, point-to kill mentality. There are still those who recognize
the due process of proving guilt or innocence as a shield against the violation of human rights.
There are still those who can be called humane because of discernment, before resorting to
the solution of randomly held gunpoint.
And while were speaking of informed opinions, look up the UN Declaration on Human
Rights. The Preamble says enough. It speaks of rights to freedom, justice and peace in the first
paragraph. Many claim this is why the Philippines has the drug war, in the first place. But the
Declaration also speaks of how ALL members of the human family equally share those rights.
And that includes the people who have been killed without the due process of law. But that
cannot be said to at least 400 Filipinos now laid in coffins or now cold and rotting 6 feet
under. They never got that chance.
Just my burgis opinion.
Ragene Andrea L. Palma, 25, is a masters student at the University of the Philippines

Choirgirl, 22, killed with a bullet to the head during Rodrigo

Duterte's 'state-sponsored butchery'
Hundreds of Filipinos have been murdered by vigilante
groups targeting alleged drug 'pushers'.
The family of a choirgirl who just celebrated her 22nd birthday has been left distraught after
she was executed and then dumped in a backstreet after being accused of being a drugs dealer.
The body of Rowena Tiamson of Dagupan, in the northern Philippines, was found with her
hands tied, her eyes and mouth covered in tape, and a bullet wound to her head.
She was just one casualty in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs that has seen between
320-544 people murdered by vigilante groups and police. The president's brutal crackdown on
the drugs trade, which began when he came to power on 30 June, has led to his enemies
calling him "Duterte Harry" or "The Punisher".
It is widely believed that many of these "executions" have been carried out by the police or
civilian death squads. Citizens are getting used to the sight of bodies lying in the street, often
draped in cardboard placards saying "pusher".
Every day at least 10 more names join the list of the dead yet this is a popular war as
Duterteenjoys the highest "trust rate" of a president in the Philippines' history. Last week the
former lawyer said 3,600 people had been arrested for drug-related offences since he was
inaugurated, with 120,000 people turning themselves in, 70,000 of these were said to have
been "pushers".

Before his election Duterte had vowed to fill Manila Bay with the corpses of dealers so "fish
will grow fat", according to the New York Times. His stance, he says, has been largely
justified as the authorities boast a 13% overall drop in crime, as jails in the country head to
breaking point.
But many of the families of the victims believe their loved ones were innocent, with some
saying that they had just used drugs not dealt them, others refuting any links to narcotics at
all. Tiamson's family said in the Timesthat she was a hard-working communications student
that had spent her time in a church choir.
Her body was found with a message saying: "Don't be like her. She is a pusher" but Tiamson's
parents say they are happy to have her body tested to prove she was never a user.

Jennelyn Olaires hugs husband Michael Siaron next to a

placard which reads 'I'm a pusher', after he was shot dead by
an unidentified gunman in ManilaNoel Celis/ AFP
Another victim, Michael Siaron, 29, was shot dead by unknown assailants on motorcycles. A
photo of his bereaved wife, Jennelyn Olaires, crying as she held his body went viral in the
Philippines. According to Reuters, Olaires said Siaron made money by riding a pedicab, a
bicycle with a sidecar, and did odd jobs to make money, and although he used drugs he was
not a dealer.
"Anyone can kill and get away with it in the current climate," said Rachel Chhoa-Howard,
who researches the Philippines for the human rights group Amnesty International. "We don't
know exactly who's committing these killings, but what we have is a leader at the top who
appears to condone and outright encourage [them]."
And Phelim Kine, a deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia, described the killings as
"government-sanctioned butchery". Kine said: "These approaches are essentially governmentsanctioned butchery in which the rule of law is completely thrown under the bus".
The Philippine Senate announced plans to begin an inquiry into the killings in August
alongside an independent inquiry by the Philippines' Commission on Human Rights.

2 students dead in street killings

LINGAYEN, PangasinanOne is a graduating Mass Communication student. The other is

about to finish a seamans course.
Both had been killed in the continuing spate of street executions of drug suspects in the
province which is part of a nationwide orgy of summary killings apparently inspired by the
Duterte administrations promise to end a drug menace that President Duterte said is the evil
that is destroying the country.
But the killings of Rowena Tiamson, 22, and Roman Clifford Manaois, 20, bore the signs of a
brutal war on drugs gone astray.

Rowena was found dead on July 19 on a village road in Manaoag town. She was tied and her
face wrapped in packaging tape. Strung around her neck was a piece of cardboard with the
written words: Dont emulate, she is a pusher.
Shot in the head
On the same day Rowena was found, Roman was riding a tricycle with a friend to the public
market of Dagupan City for a meal. Along the way, Romans friend who was driving the
tricycle picked up a man, Zaldy Abalos. As Abalos alighted in the village of Lucao, gunmen
came and opened fire apparently targeting Abalos but also hitting Roman.
According to a Facebook post of Romans grandfather, Melandrew Velasco, the gunmen made
sure Roman was dead. His grandson, Velasco said, was shot in the right temple.
Found on Romans body is a white bond paper with the written words: Dont emulate me. I
am a pusher. I am a killer and youre nextDDS. It was not clear what the initials DDS
meant but they were the same initials used for the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group
which has been blamed for a spate of extrajudicial killings of crime suspects in Davao City.
Rowenas killing shocked and enraged friends and relatives, who swore that she was neither a
drug pusher nor a user.
In their Facebook posts, Rowenas friends remembered her as a good singer, an honor student
and an active church choir member, all indications that drugs were not part of her life.
Romans grandfather, Velasco, said in his post that Romans killing is a tragic event for the
How come innocent men like Oman (Romans nickname) are being summarily executed?
Velasco said in his post.
Velasco said Romans grandmother, Leoning, cried and was asking me why President
Duterte is allowing the killing of innocent persons.
Negative for drugs

I was lost for words to answer Ate Leonings question, Velasco wrote in his post.
Results of an autopsy on Romans remains showed he has not been using drugs, Velasco said.
Police are now investigating the killings of the two students, according to Supt. Jackie
Candelario, deputy provincial police chief of Pangasinan.
Surrendered, killed

The war on drugs continues in the province.

As of Wednesday, 8,055 users and pushers from 44 towns and four cities have surrendered to
authorities, Candelario said, while 45 drug suspects have been killed, 15 of them shot by
policemen during antidrug operations.

In Bulacan, 90 drug suspects have been killed, while a municipal police chief was relieved,
since Mr. Duterte assumed office.
Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., acting Bulacan police director, said 73 of the dead were
killed in gunfights with police while 17 were apparent victims of vigilantes.
On July 20, Supt. Ganaban Ali, chief of police of San Ildefonso town, was relieved of duty,
and was transferred to a new post in Mindanao with 10 other Bulacan policemen. They are
under investigation for alleged involvement in drugs.
One of the transferred policemen was PO3 Rogelio Sta. Ana, who surrendered on July 11 and
confessed to having sold drugs. He had been charged on July 22 with grave misconduct.
Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon, and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer
Central Luzon

The death of an invisible man

By: Eric S. Caruncho
05:40 AM July 31st, 2016

Jennilyn Olayres before the coffin of her partner,Michael Siaron, during the wake at barangay
hall in Pasay.
In life, Michael Siaron was all but invisible, just one of the faceless masses barely getting by
on the mean streets of Metro Manila.
He belonged to the urban poor, a kind that more fortunate Filipinos run into every day but
dont really see, because theyve learned to tune it out of their consciousness, along with the
smell of open sewers, the noise of traffic and other unpleasant facts of daily life in the city.
Ironically, it was in death that Siaron was finally made visible by those who erased him from
his existence.
The unknown gunmen who killed him last July 23 left his bloody corpse on the highway for
all to see. They sought to reduce him to a word hastily scribbled on a scrap of cardboard. But,
in doing so, they also gave him a face. They made him visible.
It was through Inquirer photographer Raffy Lermas lens that many of his fellow Filipinos
finally saw Siaron, splashed across the front page the following morning in the indelible
image of Siarons live-in partner, Jennilyn Olayres, who was hysterical with grief, clutching
his lifeless body.
READ: The story behind the viral photo
It was an image that, once seen, could not be unseen.
President Duterte certainly saw it. He testified to the power of the image when he mentioned
it in his State of the Nation speech the following day:
And you are portrayed in a broadsheet na parang Mother Mary cradling the dead cadaver of
Jesus Christ, he said, no doubt referring to Michelangelos Pieta. E yang mga yan,
magka-dramahan tayo dito.
READ: Duterte hits melodramatic Inquirer front page photo

Siarons coffin bears the names of his loved ones.

Now that the photograph has gone viral on the internet, Siarons image in death has been seen
not only in the country, but globally as the international media picks up on the story, the very
real face of Dutertes war on drugs.
Under the LRT tracks
Siarons 29-year sojourn in this world has ended in a plain white coffin in a cramped barangay
hall under the LRT tracks, along the very side streets of Sto. Nio, Pasay City, where he lived
and grew up.
It is only now that the bare facts of his relatively short life are becoming known.
It isnt sympathy or pity that she wants, says Jennilyn Olayres. Its not even justice.
Alam ko na hindi ko makukuha ang hustisya para sa asawa ko (I know that I can never have
justice for him), she adds. Malinis lang ang pangalan ng asawa ko, malaking bagay na para
sa akin. (Just to clear my husbands name, thats already a big thing for me).
Yes, she admits, he did use drugs, methamphetamine or shabu to be exact. But he was never a
pusher, she stresses.
Ni minsan, hindi siya nang-agrabyado ng tao. Hindi siya nanggugulo, hindi siya
nagnanakaw, hindi siya gumagawa ng masama. (Not even once did he abuse people. He didnt
make trouble, he didnt steal, he didnt do anything wrong).

People who are quick to judge, who readily believe the words scrawled on a piece of
cardboard, cant know who her husband really was.
Kailangan ho ba paniwalaan kaagad ang nasa karton, na kahit bata kayang isulat (Must we
believe instantly whats written on the cardboard, that even a kid could write)? she asks.
Sana tinitingnan muna nila ang background ng tao. Hindi yung sa panglabas lang. (They
should have looked first into the persons background. Not only his outward appearance).
Siaron was the eldest of four children. His father, Solomon, sells fruits from a pushcart along
Taft Avenue. His mother, Emily, has worked in Bahrain for the last 15 years, most recently as
a janitress in a mall. But even with the money she sends home, the family is barely scraping
He never finished high school, having dropped out in his fourth year.
He had always been thin, and in poor health from a bout of leptospirosis when he was
younger. He sometimes found it hard to breathe.
He had an 11-year-old son named Harry from a previous relationship. His ex has since
married, but Siaron tried to remain close to his son.
He had worked for a time in a restaurant, his last steady job. But, since then, he had to work
odd jobs to survive. Sometimes he worked as a day laborer. Other times he helped paint

IN THIS shack live Michael Siaron and Jennilyn Olayres, along a garbage-covered creek.

Lately, he had been pedaling a sidecar part-time, taking home a measly P200 at most, of
which he had to pay P60 for the boundary.
Jennilyn, five years younger, grew up in the same neighborhood, the fourth in a brood of 10.
Her father also pedals a sidecar for a living.
They had been together for three yearsthree years and one month noong Lunes, she says.
They had wanted to have a child of their own, but she had a miscarriage, she explains.
They lived in a shackactually a tiny storeroom along a garbage-strewn creekthat they rent
for P500 a month. Siaron had done his best to fix it up, but the roof still leaks and the walls
are full of holes, and there is no toilet and no running water.
On the surface, it looks like a pretty bleak existence. But it wasnt without its joys.
She describes someone who is far from the drug-crazed maniac that his killers wanted the
world to believe.
Joker, mapagbiro sa tao, masayahinayaw niya ng gulo (He loved to joke; he was cheerful.
He didnt like trouble) , she says.
Sometimes he would take a broom, pretend it was a microphone and sing to make her laugh.
Simpleng tao lang ang asawa ko, napakasimple lang ang pamumuhay namin sa araw araw,
basta makakain lang kami ng tatlong beses isang araw, OK na po yon. Lagi niyang sinasabi
sa akin, Kailangan makuntento ka kung ano meron ka, kasi hindi tayo mayaman, wala tayong
pera, wala akong trabahong maganda. (My husband was a simple man. We led a simple life. It
was enough that we ate three meals a day. Hed always tell me to be content with what we
have, that we have no money, that he had no good job).
She had been the wild child when she was younger and hung out on the streets, as her
numerous tattoos attest. When they fought, he was the one on the receiving end. It was Siaron
who had been the taming influence. She learned to cook rice and clean house because of him,
she says.
When they had the chance to watch TV, she recalls, he preferred documentaries like those of
Jessica Soho and Kara David, or shows about nature and wildlife, a view of the wider world
beyond their narrow existence.
When she learned that Siaron had been shot, she ran barefoot from their shack all the way to
Pasay Rotonda, and broke through the police cordon to get to his body.
As far as she knows, Siaron had voted for Rodrigo Duterte. TVJ

Duterte's war: Breaking bad?

Vino Lucero and Malou Mangahas, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Posted at Jul 26 2016 02:42 AM

Jennelyn Olaires hugs the dead body of her partner Michael Siaron, 30, a pedicab driver and
an alleged drug pusher at LRT EDSA Rotonda in Pasay City, Metro Manila on Saturday.
Siaron was killed by unidentified gunmen. Basilio Sepe, ABS-CBN News

Big kill of small fry, puny drugs haul, defies PNP rules
BANGKAY SA BANGKETA... kasi nga drug pusher ako.
This is the sad refrain in a sardonic poem that a young Filipina wrote and read in a video she
posted last week on her Facebook page. It does not matter, she averred, that the so-called drug
pushers falling by the dozens of late had not been read their rights or tried in court. Or even,
that they had been killed by those who are supposed to protect them and enforce the law.
Perhaps, she wrote, those who kill are drug pushers, too.
Indeed, a pall of death has cloaked the nation in mixed glee, grief, confusion, and anxiety in
the first three weeks alone of the war on drugs of President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his deputy,
Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa. They had
promised, after all, to rid the nation of drugs in three to six months' time.
But who will be killed next is not quite clear as yet. In the meantime, the question of why the
poor and puny pushers are dying in high numbers compared to just a handful of their rich
counterparts, the drug lords, and their supposed coddlers in the police has been either
inadequately answered or ignored.
Dela Rosa, though, told PCIJ in a recent interview,"Malawakang kampanya na ito,
malawakang kampanya na. Madami na matatamaan, tinatamaan nga yung mga mayor na
drug lord diyan, tinatamaan nga yung mga pulitiko na involved, 'yang mga high-ranking
officials, tinatamaan na nga e, so lahat ito. Walang pili ito (This is already a broad campaign, a

broad campaign. Many will be hurt, mayors who are drug lords are being hit, politicians who
are involved, high-ranking officials. We do not choose.)
He also indicated that the bloodletting is not yet about to stop. Kung seryosohin mo ang
campaign on drugs, dela Rosa said, this will be very, very bloody.
By the data of the police -- until now the singular source of information of the news media
about the war on drugs -- about 10 bodies have been showing up by the road and in the slums
every day, or a total of 213 killed in Duterte's first 21 days in office alone. The casualty toll
includes 209 civilians and only four policemen that the police had tagged as alleged drug
During the same period, the PNP's Public Information Office said 3,005 persons had been
arrested, 62,218 houses had been visited, and 116,466 persons had "surrendered" to the police
under "Oplan Tokhang," the demand-side or grassroots war on drugs of the Duterte
Tokhang runs parallel to the "supply-side" campaign against drug lords and financiers of the
drug trade and together they constitute what dela Rosa calls the "big picture" that is "Oplan
Double Barrel."
Combatting drugs has always been a major police activity over the last seven years. Then and
now, however, the PNP's reports on the supposed "achievements" of the campaign have risen
and fallen, across regions of the country.
LOOK: Tok, tok...bang, bang: The bloody war on drugs
MAP, CHARTS: The Death Toll of the War on Drugs
War's ups and downs
By official PNP reports, Duterte's war on drugs has netted much bigger numbers of those
killed and arrested in its initial rollout period.
By all indications, however, Duterte's war has assumed a random, free-for-all, brook-no-limits
in law and due process, a kill-at-will campaign against mostly small-time drug suspects.
Cookie Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group of human rights lawyers says the big
difference in the war on drugs then and now is this: Duterte's war has flipped the "burden of
proof" principle in the statutes inside out. In other words, says Diokno, "you are now
presumed guilty, until proven innocent."
Compared with data on the PNP's anti-drug campaign in the 78 months ending June 2016,
Duterte's three-week-old war has upped the numbers of alleged drug users and pushers killed
and arrested multiple-fold.
The downside is Duterte's war is unfolding with negligible documentation of the conduct of
police operations and the death of suspects. In a majority of cases, the suspects were killed
purportedly because they "resisted arrest" or tried to snatch the guns of and engaged arresting
officers in a firefight.
In its investigation of complaints filed by the surviving kin of the victims, or on its own, the
Commission on Human Rights has faced little cooperation from the police. CHR

spokesperson Leah Armamento told PCIJ: "Its so difficult to get police reports. They will not
share it with us."
"Normal 'yun, she then notes. They will not cooperate with us siyempre naman kasi it might
incriminate them." As a result, Armamento says, CHR investigators have had to do their own
investigation and get the testimonies of witnesses.
PNP protocols
Yet even worse, under Duterte, police operations against illegal drugs have been marked with
apparent token compliance with -- or even open defiance of -- the rules and protocols enrolled
in the 200-page Philippine National Police Handbook PNPM-Do-Ds-3-2-13 or Revised PNP
Manual on Operational Procedures published in December 2013.
Under PNP's Handbook, Rule 7 on the "Use of Non-Lethal Weapon" prescribes a calibration
of force that should be designed only to immobilize and not kill suspects all at once. "When
suspect is violent or threatening, and that less physical measures have been tried and deemed
inappropriate, a more extreme, but non-deadly measure can be used such as baton/truncheon,
pepper spray, stun gun, and other non-lethal weapon to bring the suspect under control, or
effect an arrest," the manual states.
Even when faced with an armed suspect, the PNP Handbook says the "Application of
Necessary and Reasonable Force" should mean this: "During confrontation with an armed
offender, only such necessary and reasonable force should be applied as would be sufficient to
overcome the resistance put up by the offender; subdue the clear and imminent danger posed
by him; or to justify the force/act under the principles of self-defense, defense of relative, or
defense of stranger."
The police, the Handbook says, should pay attention to certain factors to discern "the
reasonableness of the force employed." The Handbook states: "The reasonableness of the
force employed will depend upon the number of aggressors, nature and characteristic of the
weapon used, physical condition, size and other circumstances to include the place and
occasion of the assault. The police officer is given the sound discretion to consider these
factors in employing reasonable force."
Still and all, President Duterte himself has assured policemen and soldiers that if they should
face legal suits for killing suspects, they would not have to go to jail for it because "akin yun,
ako mauuna sa inyo." Presumably, he means he is ultimately responsible and he will be the
first to take the blame.
Bato's directives
PNP chief Dela Rosa echoes Duterte's position, saying that he wants two results from the
campaign: "Gusto ko na 'pag 'yung pulis nag-operate, they should follow the police
operational procedure, yung naaayon sa batas (its according to law). Another thing I want is
that when the police conduct operations, they should remain alive, they shouldnt end up
dead. After the smoke has cleared, sila ay nakatayo at bulagta yung criminal (they are
standing and the criminal is dead on the ground)."
Dela Rosa said he has advised his men to stand their ground amid concerns about human
rights. "Hindi ko sinasabi na huwag matakot ang ating kapulisan sa human rights, thats
wrong. Ang palagi ko lang nire-remind sa kanila, remember na kapag kayoy namatay walang
human rights na magbibigay ng pagkain sa mga anak ninyo na nagiging fatherless, nauulila
'yung mga anak. (I am not saying the police should not bother with human rights...My

constant reminder to them, though, is that if they die, human rights cannot feed their
Human rights, in dela Rosa's book, will not feed the orphans of policemen or send them to
He told PCIJ: "Walang human rights na magpapa-aral sa mga anak niyo. So isipin niyo, magisip kayo, between being parang natatakot ka sa human rights, or natatakot ka na maiwan
yung mga anak mo na walang father walang kinabukasan yung mga anak mo pag namatay ka.
So you better, ganito ang gawin niyo, in case na in danger 'yung buhay ninyo, Ang importante,
kayoy buhay. You explain later, kung kasuhan man kayo, harapin niyo yung kaso, importante
buhay kayo. (Human rights will not be able to send your children to school. So you better
think about it -- should you be afraid of human rights or your children turning into orphans
without a future, if you die? The important thing is you are alive, and if you should face suits,
deal with the case. The important thing is you are alive.)"
Pre-Tokhang: 1 killed in 10 days
Data from PNP's Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) from January 2010 to June 2016 -- the last
six months of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the six-year term of former
President Benigno S. Aquino III -- showed much lower numbers of casualties and arrests
made, but also bigger values and volumes of drugs seized, compared to that recorded in
Duterte's three-week war.
The 213 drug suspects killed under Duterte's war (an average of 10 persons a day) is a
macabre figure compared to the 256 persons "killed in action" in the 78-month period or
2,336 days from January 2010 to June 2016 (an average of about one person every 10 days).
In the 78 months before Duterte came to power, the PNP had conducted a total of 96,530 antidrug operations, of which 46 percent were buy-bust operations; 28.4 percent in flagrante
(the suspects were caught in the act); 16.1 percent via search warrant; 4.6 percent as
checkpoint operations; 2.5 percent as saturation drive; 1.7 percent as marijuana
eradication operations; 0.6 percent as warrant of arrest; and 0.1 percent as interdiction.
According to the PNP, of its total operations from January 2010 to June 2016, at least 15,508
were covered by search warrants, and another 611 with warrants of arrest. The police also said
its anti-drug operations during that period altogether led to the arrest of 137,489 persons,
including 62,464 alleged drug users; 51,028 alleged drug pushers; 23,382 alleged users who
are also alleged pushers; 412 cultivators; and 203 minors. Another 794 suspects had "eluded
arrest," said the PNP.
On average, however, the total operations conducted by the PNP during those six and a half
years come up to only 42 operations a day, and those arrested, 59 persons daily. In contrast,
Duterte's war in three weeks' time has sent the police visiting a total of 62,218 houses, and
with the help of barangay officials, coaxing the "surrender" of 116,466 persons. During the
same period, which ended last July 21, a total of 3,005 alleged drug users and drug pushers
had been arrested, or an average of 143 persons a day.
The PNP's reports on Oplan Tokhang, though, do not offer data on how many of the various
types of operations against illegal drugs have been conducted with mission orders, and which
of these have been covered by search warrants or warrants of arrest. Many data fields in the
PNP's reports on the war on drugs prior to the Duterte administration do not appear anymore
in its recent reports.

Small harvest of drugs

Project Tokhang under Duterte falls far behind the PNP's prior campaign in terms of drugs
seized by value and volume. In 78 months of the war on drugs before Duterte, the PNP said it
had confiscated various drugs (shabu, marijuana, ecstacy, cocaine, ephedrine, as well as
acetone, chloroform, rugby, etc.) worth a grand total of P24.89 billion. In contrast, Tokhang
has so far netted only 230 kilos of shabu, 5,815 sachets of shabu, 13,413 marijuana plants,
138 sachets of marijuana, one tablet of Ecstasy, and no cocaine at all, among others.
Before Duterte's war, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said that from January 2010 to
June 2016, it had filed a total of 19,843 drug cases in court, while other law-enforcement
agencies contributed another 81,422 cases -- or a total of 101,265 cases.
Project Tokhang, according to the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective
Management (DIDM) has reportedly triggered the filing of 3,477 court cases from May 10 to
July 10, 2016. The PNP's later reports on Tokhang that starts on the first of day of Dutertes
term as Commander-in-Chief of PNP do not show any updated data on cases filed.
The rise and fall of the quantitative "achievements" of specific PNP regional offices before
and after Tokhang are a curious matter, too.
The Calabarzon police force topped the regional offices for having the largest number of
operations conducted within the six-and-a-half-year period before Duterte's war with 22,796.
The Metro Manila police came in second with 19,466. The other police regional offices and
their anti-drug operations during the period follow:

Central Visayas police with 11,197 operations;

Central Luzon, 8,256;
Ilocos region, 4,891;
Davao region, 4,424;
Northern Mindanao, 4,231;
Soccsksargen, 3,451;
Western Visayas, 3,129;
Zamboanga Peninsula, 2,972;
Bicol Region, 2,554;
Caraga Region, 1,973;
Cagayan Valley, 1,958;
Eastern Visayas, 1,582;
Mimaropa, 1,199;
Cordillera Administrative Region, 896;
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 567; and
Negros Island police, which just started operations in 2015, with 416 operations.

The PNP also recorded a total of 441 anti-drug operations under its Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group (CIDG); 130 under AIDG; and one operation under its Aviation Security
Group (AVSEGRP).
How the regions fare
Despite being the youngest regional police force, the Negros Island police ranked first in
number of persons killed in action (KIA) with 110, followed by Calabarzon as a far second
with 55. A total of 256 persons were killed in action from January 2010 to June 2016.
Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and Central Visayas police offices also clinched the top three spots
when it comes to number of persons arrested -- 33,629, 28,753, and 15,054, respectively.

The NCR police office, meanwhile, filed the most number of cases in court against violators
of laws against illegal drugs 31,082 cases from 2010 to June 2016. Calabarzon came in
second with 28,476 cases, and Central Visayas as a far third with 17,281. These three regions
filed more than 60 percent of the 126,692 total cases.
Under Duterte, of the 213 persons killed from July 1 to 21, one third or 77 -- including two
police officers -- were from Metro Manila. Central Luzon came in in second with 63 civilians
and one police officer killed, followed by Calabarzon with 29 civilians and one police officer
From reporting seven deaths during anti-drug operations in the past six and a half years, NCR
now leads the death toll from the drug war, while Negros Island Region, the former No. 1, has
reported no deaths yet.
In the last three weeks ending July 21, the police have recorded zero incidents of killing
during anti-drug operations in Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Zamboanga Peninsula, and
Northern Mindanao.
Yet even as they continue racking up numbers of operations, arrests, and killings, the PNP
seems to have become less generous in sharing other details. Its latest reports do not show the
number and kind of operations, and the cases that the police have filed against the suspects.
Too, the new reports do not classify the suspects as pushers, users, cultivators, user-pushers,
or minors that earlier PNP reports had done.
There are no data anymore in the PNP reports about the number of suspects who had eluded
arrest even as earlier reports pegged the figure for its 6.5-year coverage at 794, with
Calabarzon having the most escapees at 202. -- With additional reporting by Karol Ilagan
and Davinci Maru, PCIJ, July 2016