Senate probe: Witnesses link policemen to murder, illegal drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Two witnesses pointed to policemen in connection with the deaths of their loved ones and illegal drug trade during a Senate probe of extrajudicial killings on Monday.

Harrah Kazuo of Pasay City said that her partner, JV Bertes, was killed — along with his father Renato — while under police custody on July 7.

Kazuo admitted that her late partner was involved in illegal drugs, as a small-time pusher, but added, he was about to surrender that time.

Related: Dela Rosa: PNP stand vs. extrajudicial killings 'uncompromising'

Autopsy report showed the father and son took three gunshot wounds each, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said there were clear irregularities in the apprehension of the Berteses.

For one, the policemen showed no search warrant when they barged into the house of the victim.

Kazuo also recalled how one of the policemen mistreated her 2-year-old daughter, by taking off her diapers and looking for drugs in her butt.

She also narrated how Bertes had previously been arrested because of cara y cruz (coin gambling). But she was able to get him out of jail by shelling out P20,000 to policemen.

A police official told senators that murder charges would be filed against two of the policemen in the father-and-son slay. Though they did not name these two, they will be summoned Tuesday for the continuation of the hearing.


Meanwhile, another witness, Mary Rose Aquino, told senators both her parents were killed by policemen in Antipolo.

Aquino said her father had sold illegal drugs being supplied by policemen. She said her father wanted to quit the trade and go back to being a driver.

Her father had been killed and later, her mother was also found dead.

Based on the accounts of the two witnesses, Sen. Antonio Trillanes said the policemen involved in the drug trade seemed to be cleansing their civilian assets and contacts. This, in an apparent attempt by dirty cops to clear their tracks.

Related: House readies to probe De Lima's alleged past drug link at Bilibid

At the start of the hearing, Justice Committee chair Sen. Leila de Lima had expressed serious concern about using administration's all-out campaign against illegal drugs to kill suspected drug offenders by vigilantes and scalawags within the law enforcement agencies.

CNN Philippines' Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.