MANILA – The chief of the Northern Police District (NPD) downplayed complaints filed against Caloocan policemen before the Ombudsman, pointing out that it's "normal" for criminals to deny and lie about their crimes.
"The operation happened a long time ago, in September. It's normal for criminals to deny, all of them deny. They're liars," said Chief Superintendent Robert Fajardo in a phone interview with Rappler on Wednesday, March 15.
On Tuesday, March 14, the family of Luis Bonifacio filed murder and administrative complaints against Superintendent Ali Jose Duterte, chief of the NPD's District Special Operations Unit, and several other cops for supposedly murdering Bonifacio and making it seem like it was a buy-bust operation gone wrong.
They face murder and administrative complaints – gross misconduct, grave abuse of authority, gross oppression, and conduct unbecoming of a public officer.
Fajardo, who has supervision over the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela, dismissed the complaint against his men, telling Rappler that what happened in September was a legitimate operation.
"We won't ask the Ombudsman to dismiss the case outright. We will answer the case then let the Ombudsman dismiss it," he said.
Fajardo, appointed NPD chief in July, said Bonifacio had been on the police's "watchlist" of suspected drug users and pushers. The list is prepared by barangay officials and validated by police.
Police had supposedly mistaken Luis for Luisito, his brother. Luisito was supposedly number 6 on the Caloocan police's drug list.
"The data is complete. He is part of the watchlist. The allegation about the name being wrong, about a mistaken identify… that was really him. It's normal for the family to deny," said Fajardo.
Bonifacio's family insisted that the police's narrative – as documented in the police report – isn't true.
Eyewitnesses, including his family members, claimed that Bonifacio was already on his knees with hands held in the air when police barged into their home in Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City. Police were searching for illegal drugs.
But he was supposedly shot dead by cops – unarmed and not dangerous – as his family went downstairs on the orders of police. Bonifacio's son, Gabriel Louis, was also killed because he did not leave his father's side. The incident happened at 1:30 am on September 15, 2016.
From July 1, 2016 to January 30, 2017, police tallied 7,080 deaths linked – directly or indirectly – to the bloody war on drugs. Police killed at least 2,555 in anti-drug operations.
Families of victims have accused the police of summarily killing their kin, but most of them have chosen not to file cases. The Bonifacio family's complaint is the first one filed with the Ombudsman in relation to the current war on drugs. – Rappler.com
Police chief says all criminals are liars