Report on drug-related deaths to be given to UNHRC on time, Guevarra assures

Published November 5, 2020, 4:52 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The inter-agency panel led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) remains committed to deliver in a timely manner its promise to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to release by the end of the month a report concerning the review of over 5,000 anti-illegal drugs operations that resulted to deaths, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Thursday, Nov. 5.


“I think we can come up with at least an initial or partial report by the end of the month, as targeted,” Guevarra told reporters. 

He admitted “the pandemic has affected our mobility in examining case files located in various field stations of law enforcement agencies.”

“As I see it, though, there may not be a need to look at each and every case, if a pattern is clearly visible upon examination of sufficient random samplings,” he said.

During the 44th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) held last June 30, Guevarra reported that the Philippines formed an inter-agency panel which has been conducting “a judicious review of the 5,655 anti-illegal drug operations where deaths occurred.” 

Guevarra told the UNHCR a report of its work will be presented by the end of November.

“This review mechanism will not only reinforce accountability on the drug campaign, it will tighten the web on existing mechanisms to prevent cases of impunity, including the inter-agency committee on the extralegal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations to life, liberty and security of persons,” Guevarra told the UNHRC.

He added that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has been involved in the review mechanism as “an independent monitoring body.”

“The Philippine National Police is obliged by its internal mechanism to conduct motu proprio investigations whether or not there are complainants on all law enforcement operations that result in deaths, and take action on this basis,” Guevarra assured.

“This panel, external to the Philippine National Police, re-evaluates these cases and examines the propriety of reinvestigating them or filing appropriate charges against erring law enforcement officers,” he added.

Guevarra said the panel also “intends to engage affected families, provide them with legal options, and assistance in criminal prosecution of law enforcers who have overstepped legal bounds in their operations.”