FOLLOWING an 11-hour sweep of Manila that resulted in the death of 25 suspected criminals, Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada expressed his support to authorities of the Manila Police District (MPD)
Estrada commended MPD Director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel and his men for their “zealousness in ridding Manila of unwanted criminals and preserving peace and order.”
“I have your back,” he told Coronel. “Just assure that this operation is carried out within the parameters of the law and the suspects’ rights are not violated.”
From Wednesday evening to early morning Thursday, various anticrime operations were done across Manila. Under the government’s antidrug campaign, 14 suspected drug pushers were killed, while the city police district’s “one time, big time” anticriminality drive killed 11 more individuals, most of them robbery-hold up suspects, Coronel said.
The 25 killed individuals resisted arrest and engaged in crossfire with the police, authorities claimed. Meanwhile, 166 arrests were made across Manila during the same overnight sweep on Wednesday.
“In support of President Duterte’s war against drugs and criminality, we, in the city of Manila, have been serious in stamping out criminality and maintaining peace and order,” the Manila mayor said, “And so, I’m repeating my warning to criminals: give up or face the full force of the law.”
To recall, Estrada earlier expressed rage over the killing of a Manila policeman who is a “high-value target” and a suspect in narcotic activities and the killing of an antidrug colleague. He earlier stressed in a news release that he “does not condone the extrajudicial killing of law enforcers involved in drugs and other criminal activities”.
The killings in Manila took place after Duterte praised the overnight sweep done by authorities in Bulacan earlier this week, an operation that resulted to the death of 32 individuals purportedly involved in the sale and use of narcotics.
“If we could kill another 32 [drug suspects] every day, then maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” the President said.
The MPD claimed all their anticriminality drives are reported and legitimate.
“We are open for probes by any investigating body,” MPD Spokesman Supt. Erwin Margarejo said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Chief for Administraion Tomas Apolinario backed up this claim and manifested support to police anticrime operations of this kind.
“These are all legitimate operations. We support our police. Also, I would like to get the community’s support [with assurance that] the PNP is doing its job,” Apolinario said.
To date, MPD is still collating data on the deaths, including the victims’ identities.