By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is asking the Supreme Court (SC) for more time to submit all the documents pertaining to the conduct of intensified anti-drugs operations across the country.
Outgoing PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he signed today a letter to the Office of Solicitor General requesting for an extension of the 15-day deadline given by the High Court for the government to submit the documents.
“I just signed a letter addressed to the SolGen requesting the Supreme Court to give us ample time to prepare everything because that is a lot of documents, it’s a voluminous documents,” said dela Rosa.
The case stemmed from various petitions filed before the SC questioning the legality of the Duterte administration’s anti-illegal drugs drive that has so far left more than 4,000 suspected drug personalities dead since it was launched in July 2016.
Early this month, the High Court rejected the argument of the Solicitor General that the documents should not be submitted because of the national security implications.
In a resolution, the High Court appears to be curious on the number of deaths under the campaign against illegal drugs that it wants to find out if the killings are state-sponsored.
The deadline given by the High Court would compel the PNP to submit the documents until next week but Dela Rosa said it is impossible to comply this early.
“As of now, those documents are not yet ready. That is the reason why we are seeking for an extension,” said Dela Rosa.
While some of the documents have already been prepared, police officials said their regional commanders have not yet fully submitted all the required documents.
“We are preparing. Our intention is to comply but again we have to seek the guidance of the president because we are under the Executive department,” said Dela Rosa.
Malacanang has already stated before that it would comply with the SC order but critics expressed doubt on the Palace statement, noting that there were declarations in the past that were not followed.
Ups and downs
The PNP has been at the forefront of what it refers to as war on drugs. Based on its records, more some 4,075 suspected drug pushers or users were killed in police operations since July 1, 2016.
But even before the assumption of President Duterte in 2016, scores of suspected drug pushers and users were already reported killed, particularly when the counting revealed that he won the presidential elections.
Critics, however, also attribute the more than 15,000 deaths of suspected drug pushers and users across the country, allegedly perpetrated by vigilante groups.
The PNP, however, was accused of also behind the vigilante-style execution following the report last year about two motorcycle-riding men who shot dead an anti-crime advocate in Mindoro. The two motorcycle gunmen turned out to be two junior police officers.
The PNP was twice ejected out of the illegal drugs operations, the first was due to the kidnap-slay of South Korean executive Jee Ick Joo who was arrested under the guise of anti-drugs operations but was later killed inside Camp Crame by erring cops who also demanded P5 million ransom from his family after the killing.
Dela Rosa considers the kidnap-slay of Jee as one of his lowest points as PNP chief, along with the death of 17-year old Kian delos Santos who was allegedly executed by Caloocan City cops. Delos Santos killing was the another reason why the PNP was booted out of war on drugs.
The war on drugs, however, catapulted dela Rosa to popularity. It also serves as a reason why Duterte remains popular.
Ready for charges
But as charges were already filed before the International Criminal Court against Duterte and other key players of the war on drugs, dela Rosa said he anticipates the filing of cases against him after he becomes a civilian.
Dela Rosa will be replaced by Director Oscar Albayalde as PNP chief today.
“I will face that charges. That’s a complaint so I will never run away from it,” said dela Rosa.