(JULY 5, 2019) – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday scored former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now senator Bato dela Rosa for supposedly downplaying the killing of a three-year-old girl in a police operation in Rodriguez, Rizal on Sunday.
In a statement, the former top cop himself said Myka Ulpina’s death after being caught in a crossfire during an anti-drug raid should not be taken lightly.
“Incidents like this should be taken seriously so that corrective measures will be put in place immediately and those responsible must at least be investigated to determine possible lapses or lack of discretion. Nonchalance has no place in this situation,” Lacson said.
Opposition senator Risa Hontiveros also took a swipe at Dela Rosa.
“Let’s not trivialize innocent lives lost. Sh*t happens? Then it’s time to call a plumber and flush this bloody and abusive drug war down the toilet,” she wrote on Twitter.
Senator Francis Pangilinan likewise opposed the neophyte senator’s position on the incident.
“Kapag ganito ang kalakaran na tinatanggap na lang natin bilang realidad sa halip na kondenahin at panagutin ang mga nagkasala, ibig sabihin mauulit nang mauulit ang patayan pati na ng mga bata,” he said in a statement.
Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, for his part, also took a swipe at the Duterte administration’s infamous war on drugs.
“No, Sen. Bato, this is not ‘sh*t happens.’ This is what happens when government dispenses justice from the barrels of guns instead of the courts,” he said.
Dela Rosa’s position, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) fears, suggests that “he cannot be expected to independently investigate the conduct of law enforcers, let alone the killings themselves.”
“It is unfortunate that [he] would display such uncaring, even contemptuous, attitude to Myca Ulpina and, by extension, the dozens of other children killed in the brutal campaign,” HRW Asia researcher Carlos Conde wrote.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has launched its own investigation into Ulpina’s death amid conflicting accounts on the incident.
“She would’ve turned four by the end of July, but Myka Ulpina’s life was cut short in the hands of those who swore to protect it. [We] condemn the death of another innocent life as a consequence of the government’s war against illegal drugs,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said in a statement.
Ulpina died from the raid, which police said, originally targeted to apprehend her father Renato Dolorfina, an alleged drug suspect in the area.
The PNP on Friday said it respects the position of the CHR on the matter, noting that the incident indeed calls for a full-dress investigation.
In light of the inquiry into Ulpina’s death, the PNP has relieved the entire roster of the Rogriguez police.