• PNP chief said 899 mysterious drug-related deaths are under investigation
  • He said killings could be done either by vigilantes or paid hitmen
  • He also said he does not condone vigilantism, called it an insult to the PNP

MANILA, Philippines – Set to go under the Senate axe next week, PNP chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa told senators during a pre-formal hearing that they are currently investigating 899 drug-related deaths for being fishy.

“Those are the dead who were just found floating along canals, the dead who were dumped along roads with their hands tied and their faces, eyes, and mouths taped. Also those killed by riding-in-tandem, or those who were just shot. Those are the deaths under investigation,” Rappler quoted him as telling the solons.

At least 22 cases related to the deaths have been filed— all of them in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Dela Rosa however refused to classify the deaths as purely done by vigilantes, saying that some might be the handiwork of hitmen employed by drug lords.

“We cannot really attribute this to vigilante killings, these bodies found and thus under investigation. Most of the suspects are drug pushers who became hitmen of the drug lords,” he said.

At the same time however, the PNP chief also said he is angry at vigilantes because their acts make the PNP look incompetent.

“It bothers our conscience because we are in charge of the peace and order of the whole Philippine archipelago. Now those vigilantes kill, that is an insult to our ranks. They just kill these people and we can’t even make them answer for their sins,” he said. “So that means we are ineffective. That’s why I’m very angry at those vigilantes.”

Dela Rosa also assured the senators that the PNP will cooperate with the Senate to make sure the ongoing campaign against drugs is done legitimately.