The Police Must be Made to Account

 "It is time to have a closer look at workings of the Caloocan City Police Department, since these two killings took place in that jurisdiction."

In less than two weeks, the nation has been jolted by police killings of two innocent youth – Kian de los Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz – in the name of the war on drugs. Because they look like extra-judicial killings, people are beginning to speculate wildly, especially after an emotional Senate hearing on the issue.

Some people think that policemen are being told to kill, and that these killings are being orchestrated by government. Sen. Risa Hontiveros claimed in the Senate hearing that there is a government policy for such killings, which the President quickly denied. The senator later nuanced her stance, saying that the President’s incendiary language on killing criminals carries the weight of policy.

 Will an incumbent administration deliberately order its police force to kill and in the process destabilize itself? I find this hard to believe. Moreover, If you believe this argument, why did the parents of Kian and Carl Angelo go to the President himself for help in seeking justice? Why would they go to the supposed mastermind of the killings?

Other people seem to think that someone outside government is doing dirty tricks/ black ops and is the mastermind behind these killings. This is the argument of some Duterte supporters who think that opposition political groups are just hell-bent on bringing down the government. This line of reasoning, of course, is just as cynical as the first.

Nobody has explored the possibility that any of the drug lords/cartels themselves may be orchestrating the killings to discredit the government, which is determined to get rid of their nefarious business.

It is time to have a closer look at workings of the Caloocan City Police Department, since these two killings took place in that jurisdiction. I don't think anyone in government, or the opposition party, is telling the police to do this or that, although I would support an examination of the role of drug lords in these murders. In any case, I think the police system needs to be cleaned up; a retraining of rules of engagement is clearly in order.

About the Author
Mr. Oscar F. Picazo is a retired specialist in health systems, health economics, and social policy. He has worked in 24 countries for the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and as an independent consultant. He returned to the Philippines in 2009 and became a senior research consultant for the Philippine Institute of Development Studies.
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