Philippine warns police on ‘reckless exercise of power’

MANILA: The Philippine government on Saturday urged police against the “reckless exercise of power” amid public outrage over the killing of a 17-year-old boy during an anti-drug operation.
The teenager’s parents denied he was involved in illegal drugs, and witnesses said police allegedly forced him to hold a gun and told him to run before they shot him on Wednesday night.
Kian Loyd Delos Santos was among at least 80 people killed in various anti-drug raids by the police in and around Manila since Monday.
“The violent death of any Filipino is one death too many, especially that of Kian Loyd Delos Santos,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“This deeply regrettable incident has triggered deep public sentiment, and challenges those in law enforcement to be wary of the reckless exercise of power and authority,” he added.
Three police officers and their commander have been relieved of their duties to allow for an investigation into the killing.
According to the police report, the teenager ran when he saw the officers approaching him.
He then pulled out a gun and opened fire at the policemen, who shot back, it said.
But CCTV footage from the neighbourhood of Delos Santos’ house in the Manila suburb of Caloocan showed the three police officers in civilian clothes dragging the boy to the area where he was later killed.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, which has left thousands dead in one year, has been severely criticised by rights groups and foreign governments.
Six killed in Mindanao
The MILF group has launched a deadly offensive against a splinter faction that has pledged allegiance to the IS group, police said on Saturday.
The fighting between the two groups began about two weeks ago in the marshy farmlands around the southern town of Datu Salibo on Mindanao island, regional police spokeswoman Tara Leah Cuyco said.
Clashes between the MILF and its offshoot, the BIFF, took place on Friday and Saturday, with six fighters from the original group killed.
“The MILF is trying to force the BIFF out of the area. They do not want any trouble,” Chief Inspector Cuyco said.
A MILF guerrilla leader told a video journalist on Saturday that: “We do not want them here. It’s an order from the higher-ups.”
The group signed a peace treaty with the Philippine government in 2014 and is observing a ceasefire with the Philippine government while waiting for the passage of a proposed law that would grant self-rule to the Muslim areas of the Mindanao region.
Senior MILF leaders have warned President Rodrigo Duterte to deliver on government commitments under the peace accord, chiefly the autonomy law, or risk frustrating MILF members and causing them to defect to the BIFF and other pro-IS groups. — dpa/AFP