BAGUIO CITY—Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan has ordered the Baguio City Police Office to hasten its investigation into recent deaths in the city related to extrajudicial killings and the government’s aggressive anti-drug campaign, saying he wants to “prevent unwarranted conclusions from the public” on these events.
Since the Duterte administration launched its drive against illegal drugs, 30 deaths have been recorded in the city, four from legitimate police operations and 26 “deaths under investigation” as described by the police, Domogan said.
The deaths under investigation were largely alleged drug pushers from the different barangays of the city, the mayor said.
“We do not want the government’s anti-drug campaign to be tainted with allegations on suspected extrajudicial killings, that is why the police should come out with results of their investigations on the alleged deaths under investigation to allay the fears of the public that individuals suspected to be involved in the illegal drug trade could just be killed anytime,” Domogan stressed.
Several months had lapsed but the BCPO has not yet submitted detailed reports on the real cause of the deaths, which happened amid government’s efforts to curb the illegal drug trade nationwide.
Domogan said local police were recently reminded to come out with constant updates on the status of the deaths under investigation to negate the impression of some quarters that the slain ones were victims of extrajudicial killings.
“That will have a serious negative impact to the government’s desire to rid the country on the proliferation of illegal drugs that tend to compromise the bright future of the youth,” he said.
He admitted these deaths “could be one of the downsides of the government’s anti-drug campaign” if the police cannot handle the situation properly. Thus, law enforcers need to come out with the details of these cases, the mayor said.
The government’s anti-drug campaign has improved the city’s peace and order situation, Domogan said, because of the significant reduction of other crimes around the city over the past several months.
Law enforcers still need to be vigilant because “there might be some individuals and groups, especially the drug groups,” who might take advantage of the situation and take the law into their own hands by assassinating their rivals in the trade and then blame the police as responsible for such incidents, the mayor added.
The fears of the people can only be allayed “once there will be positive results on the reported deaths under investigation, to send a clear message that the police is still in control of the situation and that individuals wanting to take advantage of the situation have no chance of doing so.”