DOJ to continue probing deaths in illegal drugs operations nationwide

Published February 26, 2021, 2:05 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Friday, Feb. 26, it will continue scrutinizing the deaths which occurred during the nationwide operations by law enforcement personnel against illegal drugs.

Department of Justice (DoJ)

 DOJ Undersecretary Adrian Ferdinand S. Sugay on Friday, Feb. 26, said the DOJ-led inter-agency review panel has finished its review on the 328 cases of the thousands of illegal drugs operations conducted since President Duterte assumed office in 2016.

Sugay said: “Any and all possible administrative/criminal liability against those involved in these anti-illegal drug operations where deaths occurred may be pursued depending on any further findings/recommendations.”

He said the review panel has submitted to the President and to the Philippine National Police (PNP) the report on the initial findings.

“I understand that they (PNP) are currently evaluating our findings and recommendations and will come out with their report in the first week of March,” he added

 In June 30 last year, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that the government formed the DOJ-led inter-agency panel to conduct “a judicious review of the anti-illegal drug operations where deaths occurred.”

 But Guevarra said that due to constraints like typhoons and the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the review panel initially focused on areas with the highest number of incidents, namely, Bulacan, Pampanga and Cavite.

Last Feb. 24, Guevarra appeared anew before the UNHRC and reported that many irregularities were committed by law enforcement agents in the conduct of the illegal drugs operations.

One of the irregularities found by the review panel was that “the law enforcement agents involved failed to follow standard protocols pertaining to coordination with other agencies and the processing of the crime scene,” he said.