At the ongoing Senate inquiry on Tuesday, August 23, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa explained that President Rodrigo Duterte never issued an order to kill drug suspects.
An ABS-CBN News report quoted Dela Rosa as saying, "There is none. We always follow the rule of law. Kung sinabi ni President iyan, ito ay para takutin ang ating mga drug personalities. Itong labanan ng droga, it is a psychological [war]."
Then again, the current drug war death toll cited by Dela Rosa won't exactly appease human rights advocates.
A Reuters report noted that Dela Rosa revealed at the start of the Senate inquiry this week that 756 drug suspects have been killed in police operations and at least 1,160 people were killed outside of police operations.
Prior to Dela Rosa's revelation, the death toll count had been estimated at 900 by Philippine officials. Then again, the report pointed out that the said number "included people who died since Duterte won the May 9 presidential polls."
While Dela Rosa noted that not all of the 1,160 killings are drug-related, it goes without saying that most vigilante-style killings these days are presumed as drug-related.