‘We respect human rights’: BGen Coronel

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga– Central Luzon Police Director, Brig. General Joel Napoleon Coronel, on Thursday assures the Police Regional Office 3 respects the human rights group Amnesty International’s report on the Philippines’ war on drugs.

In his statement, Coronel said he strongly disagrees with its declaration that Bulacan province is now the country’s “bloodiest killing field” in relation to the PNP’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs. 

“Our anti-illegal drugs operations in Region 3 is not confined in Bulacan alone but is being implemented region wide with my solid directive that it must be done in accordance with the law and with utmost respect for human rights,” Coronel added.Coronel said that since the anti-illegal drugs operations in Region 3 started in July 2016, those “have not solely taken its toll on slain drug pushers and users only who died during legitimate police operations.” 

“The men and women in uniform are also susceptible and are at risk of their lives. Our records reveal that from the start of Project: Double Barrel program in July 2016 to date, four Central Luzon cops were killed while twelve (12) were seriously injured during actual police operations,” he lamented.

As law enforcers, he added, and agents of the state, their primary duty is to serve and keep the communities safe, secure and drug-free even if they put ourselves in harm’s way, and they will continue to be relentless in the government’s campaign to rid-off Region 3 of illegal drugs as we vow to uphold the Rule of Law at all times. 

Further, he reiterated that in PRO3, they do not condone any unlawful demeanor perpetrated by any of their members especially during the conduct of anti-illegal drugs operations. As part of the PNP Internal Cleansing program, from 2016 to date, Coronel reported forty PNP personnel who were found involved in drug-related activities were already administratively charged and thirty five of them were dismissed from the PNP service, and five were suspended.  

“We continue to appeal to everyone for their support and understanding that the fight against illegal drugs is a shared responsibility of everyone. It is the fight of the people and the Police are the front liner in waging this people’s fight. Let us all unite to win the war against illegal drugs,” BGen. Coronel stated.