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7 Davao City cops in new drug war axed

MANILA, Philippines —  Seven police officers were relieved from their posts in connection with the deaths of drug suspects in alleged shootouts in Davao City after Mayor Sebastian Duterte declared a war on drugs in the city.

The administrative relief of the policemen came after Philippine National Police chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. ordered an investigation on the supposed armed encounters where seven drug suspects were killed in less than a week after Duterte’s declaration.

“Our chief PNP, through the regional director, gave orders to investigate these incidents and give way to an impartial investigation,” PNP public information officer Col. Jean Fajardo told a news briefing at Camp Crame yesterday.

The PNP Internal Affairs Service has also started its probe into the killings, Fajardo said.

Davao region police director Brig. Gen. Alden Delvo said the seven policemen were disarmed and would be subjected to paraffin testing.

Delvo did not rule out the possibility that more police officers will be relieved from their posts in the coming days.

“We will be investigating all personnel involved in the police operations,” he said in a text message.

The policemen must also explain why it was necessary for them to use their guns in neutralizing the drug suspects.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) had earlier expressed grave concern over Duterte’s statement patterned after his father, former president Rodrigo Duterte.

Fajardo said the PNP is open to an investigation by the CHR, stressing the police force will not hesitate to sanction police officers found to have killed drug suspects in cold blood.

She added that even the policemen’s supervisors could be held liable under the doctrine of command responsibility.

“Rest assured that all those accountable would be held liable, including their team leaders, supervisors and field commanders,” Fajardo said.

Since January, a total of 28 drug suspects were killed in alleged shootouts with policemen, while 424 were arrested.

Around 202 grams of shabu valued at P1.37 million and seven loose firearms were confiscated.

The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) has admitted to doubling their efforts to quash illegal drugs in the city