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Militant group Bayan asks Duterte to probe killing of drug suspects

A militant group has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to look into the spate of killings of drug suspects over the past weeks.

While lauding the new administration’s campaign against illegal drugs targeting officials of the Philippine National Police, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) expressed concern on the deaths of alleged drug dealers.

The group described Duterte’s anti-crime and anti-drugs campaign as a positive move as the protectors of the biggest criminal syndicates have long been believed to be within the PNP itself.

Duterte has named retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo, retired Chief Superintendent Vicente Loot, who is now the mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu; Director Joel Pagdilao, Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, and Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz as allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

“The five officials named by Duterte should undergo appropriate investigation, in accordance with due process,” the group said.

It added that formal charges should eventually be filed if there is genuine accountability.

“We, however, express grave concern over the spate of extrajudicial killings of alleged drug dealers over the past few weeks,” it said.

“The Duterte adminstration, after making clear its stand on due process during the inauguration, should now look into the cause of the killings especially since many suspect that these are being carried out as part of the house cleaning being done by the big criminal syndicates to avoid detection by the new regime,” it added. 

But while the group supported Duterte's anti-illegal drugs campaign, Bayan said it opposes the involvement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in anti-narcotics police operations because of the AFP’s poor human rights record and because this does not fall within its mandate. 

“The AFP’s involvement may bring about more problems than solutions,” it said. — Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News