7,800 cops in Philippines punished for deadly drug raids
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Thousands of Philippine police officers have received administrative punishments with more than 2,000 dismissed for wrongdoings during raids where drug suspects were killed under the president’s crackdown, officials said Thursday.
Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael Banaag told a news conference that 14,724 police were investigated for their involvement in police drug operations that led to deaths from July 2016 until last April.
She said 7,867 of them received administrative punishments for unspecified lapses.
A tally presented by Banaag showed that 2,367 police officers have been fired, 4,100 suspended while the rest were reprimanded, demoted, had their salaries forfeited or deprived of certain privileges.
Banaag did not say how many officers have been criminally charged for serious lapses or outright crimes committed while enforcing the crackdown, which was launched by President Rodrigo Duterte as his centrepiece programme when he took office in mid-2016.
Philippine police officials say about 6,600 drug suspects have been killed in raids carried out by the police mostly in gun battles that ensued after the suspects fought back and endangered the lives of law enforcers.
Banaag and other officials reported a lower death toll, more than 5,500, saying authorities were still verifying other drug-related deaths.