Guevarra cites ‘irregularities’ by law enforcement agents in illegal drugs operations

Published February 25, 2021, 8:01 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Many irregularities committed by law enforcement agents have been discovered in their various anti-illegal drugs operations which have resulted in the deaths of alleged suspects, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO /MANILA BULLETIN)

 This was admitted by Guevarra on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in his report during the online 7th meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

 He said the findings on irregularities were discovered by the review panel, led by the Department of Justice (DOJ), which conducted an initial scrutiny of over 5,600 anti-illegal drugs operations conducted under the administration of President Duterte.

 Guevarra said “in more than half of the records reviewed, the law enforcement agents involved failed to follow standard protocols pertaining to coordination with other agencies and the processing of the crime scene.”

 “Our initial and preliminary findings confirm that in many of these cases, law enforcement agents asserted that the subject of anti-drugs operations resisted arrest or attempted to draw a weapon and fight back,” he said.

“Yet, no full examination of the weapon recovered was conducted. No verification of its ownership was undertaken. No request for ballistic examination or paraffin test was pursued until its completion,” he stressed.

 But Guevarra assured the UNHRC that the findings of the review panel have been referred to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We have been informed that the appropriate internal investigations of thousands of these incidents have been conducted and scores of police officers have been recommended for administrative and criminal action,” he said.

 “It is now the immediate task of the review panel to ensure that these recommendations have been acted upon and carried out by the proper disciplinarian authorities and that measures are adopted to minimize loss of lives during legitimate law-enforcement operations against illegal drugs,” he added.

 In June 30 last year, Guevarra told the UNHRC that the Philippines formed an inter-agency panel led by the DOJ which has been conducting “a judicious review of the 5,655 anti-illegal drug operations where deaths occurred.”

 Last month, he said the panel’s report was submitted to the President.

In previous interviews, Guevarra said he will make public the contents of the report after giving the PNP the chance to respond.

 
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