Gordon: Police 'have gotten away with murder,' but killings not state-sponsored

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — How to get away with murder?

The Philippines would know the answer, according to Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which investigated the spate of killings in the country's war on drugs.

After six-legislative hearings, the Senate found no proof of a state-sponsored policy to kill people to eradicate illegal drugs. But that is just part of the grim picture.

Senate's joint committee report which was signed by 11 senators took note of almost 200,000 "killings with impunity" over the last two decades alone.

"This has been going on and on and on and on and on people think that's a way of life, the police think that this is the way of law enforcement," Gordon said in an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines late Thursday.

"There have been so many killings that we have become a nation of apathetic people, complacent, and the police have gotten away with murder literally because nobody's paying attention," Gordon said.

Some three months into the Duterte administration, police records show around 47 killings per day, or 4,248 from July 1 to early October, the Senate report said.

This is higher than the average 40 killings recorded per day under former President Benigno Aquino III and 28 killings daily under former President and now congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"But is this cogent sponsored strategy of the government? Maybe individually, in their different jurisdictions they do that. But in terms of government-sponsored, I don't think it is, we don't think it is," Gordon said.

Latest police data show over 2,000 drug suspects were killed in police operations from July 1 to early December.

During an October 13 Senate hearing, Manila Police District Chief Supt. Joel Coronel testified that some killings of drug suspects have been attributed to policemen trying to neutralize drugs suppliers who might speak up against them.

Gordon also expressed disappointment over the President's recent statements that he will he will not let policemen land in jail - even those charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for murder in the November 5 killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

"Very disturbing, very un-Duterte. He's a man of the law… I didn't expect that from the President," Gordon said.

"Drugs have taken over this country but he must do it right, He cannot make statements like that," he added.

Gordon, however, said he could not blame Duterte for standing by the police because the country needs these law enforcers to suppress crime.

"So he has to back them up, he compensates. But on the other hand, he cannot overly compensate," Gordon said.

Gordon said the President should be careful in making statements that might cost him the trust of the Filipinos.