A disturbing facet of the war on drugs

Apr 29, 2017

President Duterte’s continuing campaign on the war on drugs, apart from the brutal and assailed extra judicial killings (EJKs), has generated another disquieting aspect of the campaign, and that is the reported extortion activities allegedly being done by some policemen to line their pockets.

The recent discovery by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of a secret detention cell within a police station in Manila where alleged drug suspects are kept and allegedly waiting to be freed upon the payment of money in exchange for their freedom is at the very least an embarrassment that might further erode the trust of the people in the war on drugs campaign being waged by the authorities. This is actually a twisted version of another type of extortion activity that the authorities are being accused of, and that is the so called “Hulidap”, or being arrested on trumped up charges and then later on freed after the payment of money.

In the recent shenanigan discovered by the CHR it would appear that those kept in the secret cell behind a bookshelf at the Raxabago Police Station in Tondo, are alleged drug suspects apprehended by the police at various dates and are detained in a dark small secret cell while awaiting for their relatives to free them by the payment of money, and allegedly without any cases being filed against them.

This is a plain and simple case of kidnapping for ransom and should be treated as such, similar to what is being done by the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group in the Southwestern part of the country. There is no other way to interpret such illegal and brazen act done by these policemen in using their legitimate authority to camouflage their devious, corrupt and evil intent of making money from the plight of these alleged drug suspects.

The favorable treatment allegedly being given by the President and Chief PNP Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to those policemen who in their line of duty have either arrested or killed alleged drug addicts and pushers should never be extended or given to these policemen who seek only to enrich themselves at the expense of those they have arrested and have obviously taken advantage of the campaign on the war on drugs to conceal from the public their corrupt activities.

While the report on the incident says that the police commander of the Raxabago police station has already been relieved of his post, the government should look deeper into the fiasco and expand its investigation to other police stations all over the country in order to find out whether other similar so called secret detention cells are being operated for the purpose of extorting money from helpless victims.

Meanwhile those policemen involved in the alleged extortion incident and who were assigned at the said station should already be summarily dismissed from the service after due investigation since it seems clear that they allowed within their post (the Raxabago Police Station) a secret detention cell where they could detain people far from the prying eyes of the public. This is illegal and a violation of human rights.

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