Dela Rosa: It takes political will to win war against drugs

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Two police officers charged with murder faced the Senate on Day 2 of the probe on extrajudicial killings.

A witness on Monday's hearing identified PO2 Alipio Balo and PO1 Michael Tomas as the police officers who were involved in the killing of her partner and his father.

They chose not to speak and waived their right to counsel.

"Your honor, yung kaso po namin naifile na po yung murder," PO1 Alipio Balo said.

[Translation: Your honor, we filed a murder case.]

Hearing nothing from the policemen, senators then focused on the PNP leadership.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson asked how the PNP deals with questionable police operations

PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa admits their investigation is hampered by lack of personnel and other resources.

Lacson, who was a former PNP Chief himself, also asked Dela Rosa: How come PNP reached the current number of deaths in relation to illegal drug trade.

"What is the PNP doing differently now compared to those before you? Kasama na ako doon. Ano ba ang kulang namin noon na ginagawa niyo ngayon kung bakit ganyan yung mga numero ngayon na napapakita niyo," Lacson asked dela Rosa.

[Translation: "What is the PNP doing differently now compared to those before you? That includes me. What did we lack, and what are you doing now,  that helped you achieve those numbers?]

Dela Rosa said it's not about the PNP leadership, but the political will of the President.

"It's the aggressiveness factor, your honor. The PNP is now more aggressive in the campaign against drugs because the PNP believes that we have a President who is willing to support us all throughout in this campaign. Walang iwanan, according to the President your Honor," Dela Rosa responded.

Dela Rosa added, even if he was the Chief PNP, the police wouldn't be encouraged to fight the war against drugs without the President's support.

"Even if I am the Chief PNP and I don't have the backing of a President like President Duterte, I will not be very brave enough to encourage my men to go after these people aggressively and put an end to the drug menace within six months, per directives of the President," Dela Rosa said.

Deaths under investigation

PNP report said there is 1,160 deaths under investigation — 756 happened during police operations, including drug-related cases.

In all cases, reports state suspects resisted arrest.

"Kung hindi sila nanlaban, buhay pa sila," PNP Chief General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa told the senators.

Sen. Leila De Lima asked about the issuance of search warrants in relation to Oplan Tokhang, where the police knocks on houses of drug suspects and ask them to stop their trade.

In cases residents won't let them in, Dela Rosa said they can't force people to let them into their homes.

"Uuwi po ang kapulisan ng luhaan your honor," [We will go home in tears] Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa also reiterated he is very much against vigilante killings and does not condone it.

But no matter how hard they are pressed and linked to such killings, Dela Rosa said they will not stop until the drug menace in the country has ceased.

CNN Philippines' Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.