MANILA, Philippines — Human Rights Watch slammed the promotions of senior police officers who, it said, supervised units implicated in scores of killings linked to the government’s ferocious war on drugs.
HRW said the promotions of Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna—sacked police chief of Caloocan City—as Bulacan province’s top cop and Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo—sacked chief of Northern Police District, which includes Caloocan City—as chief of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol insult drug war victims.
“The high-level promotions of two senior police officers who oversaw of the drug war’s bloodiest locales are a cruel affront to the families of victims,” the rights group said Friday.
The move underscores the importance of an International Criminal Court preliminary examination into the killings and the need for a parallel United Nations probe to ensure accountability for those deaths, HRW added.
Bersaluna and Fajardo were both sacked after cops under them killed 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos in August last year. The former NPD chief even defended the actions of the police, accusing the schoolboy of being a drug runner.
Caloocan police also allegedly killed 14-year-old Reynaldo De Guzman and 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz.
The deaths of the three teenagers fueled outrage against President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody anti-narcotics campaign.
“Delos Santos and De Guzman were just two of dozens of children killed by the police and their agents in the Philippines as part of Duterte’s nearly two-year anti-drug campaign. Senior police officials have dismissed the deaths of children as ‘collateral damage’ in the drug war,” HRW said.
Last January, The Department of Justice indicted three members of the Caloocan City police for the murder of Delos Santos.
DOJ last month re-filed the double murder case of Arnaiz and De Guzman against two cops.
However, neither Bersaluna nor Fajardo have been charged in connection with the killings of the three teenagers.