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7 dead in police ops after Baste Duterte declared drug war in Davao City — PNP

Seven suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations in Davao City four days after Mayor Sebastian "Baste" Duterte declared a war against illegal drugs in the metropolis.

Duterte announced the drug war on Friday afternoon, warning that all those involved in the city's drug menace would be dealt with severely.

"I hereby declare the campaign that the city is at war against drugs," said Duterte, adding in Bisaya that, "If you don't stop, if you don't leave, I will kill you."

Since then, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has recorded seven deaths in anti-illegal drug operations in the city, according to Jun Veneracion's report on 24 Oras.

From January to March this year, however, the PNP's count has reached 28 fatalities.

Eight Davao policemen have been relieved from their posts over their involvement in the anti-drug operations, the 24 Oras report added.

The PNP Internal Affairs Service, meanwhile, has launched an investigation on whether or not police operational procedures were followed in the buy-bust operations that were conducted.

"Sabi nga po ng ating Chief PNP, one death is too many, kaya nga po pinapaimbestigahan ito ng PNP leadership," said PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo.

(As our Chief PNP has said, one death is too many. That is why our police leadership has launched an investigation into the matter.)

Fajardo added, "If the investigation will show there is a patent display of irregularity on the part of the team leaders, supervisors up to the level of city director, then let the axe fall on them."

Colonel Richard Bad-ang has recently assumed the directorship post of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), replacing Colonel Alberto Lupaz

GMA Regional TV reported that Duterte's top directive for the new DCPO leadership was to cleanse all barangays of the drug menace.

Fajardo said Bad-ang has assured that legitimate police operations were conducted under his watch.

Duterte is the youngest son of former President Rodrigo Duterte, who is facing an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the alleged crimes against humanity due to the drug war-related killings during his term.

Based on police records, the deaths have reached about 6,000 but human rights groups contend that there were as many as 30,000.

The elder Duterte also launched a drug war in Davao City before taking the campaign nationwide as president of the country.

For its part, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it was conducting its own probe into latest drug war in Davao City.

"Tinitignan namin ay, una, kung totoo bang nanlaban ang mga taong ito," said CHR Commissioner Beda Epres.

(First, we will look if the suspects really fought their arresting officers.)

"Sana po wala na po madagdag [sa mga nasawi] kaya nga po dahil doon magmamatyag po kami," Epres added.

(Hopefully no one else will die, that's why we are watching things closely.) — VDV, GMA Integrated News