PNP's decision to share drug war records a good sign--De Lima

The Philippine National Police’s (PNP) move to share information of its drug war records for a state review is a good sign, opposition Senator Leila de Lima said.

De Lima, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, said the state-led investigation should uncover the whole truth especially on the summary killings of thousands of poor Filipinos.

“The openness of the current PNP leadership in sharing their drug war records is a good sign. Let's see how far the DOJ-led inter-agency panel would be willing to go to uncover the plain, unvarnished truth, and determine ultimate accountability for the EJKs,” De Lima said, referring to the Department of Justice.

“Hindi pwedeng tingi-tingi lang. Yung buong katotohanan dapat. Bakit naging lantaran at talamak ang pagpatay? Sino ang nag-udyok? (We can’t afford piecemeal information. We want the whole truth. Why did the summary killings were done so openly and became prevalent? Who pushed for it)?” she added.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) earlier lauded the PNP and its new chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, for opening some of its drug war records for scrutiny. The CHR previously lamented that restrictions on access to police records hindered its probe into cases where victims were killed by law enforcers for allegedly fighting back.

Eleazar allowed the DOJ to take a look at the 61 drug war cases as part of its probe of the Duterte administration’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs. In some of these cases, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said, the PNP Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) had already found liability on the part of law enforcers.

According to Gueverra, the purpose of the review is for the DOJ to determine which administrative cases could lead to possible criminal investigation. Eleazar had reportedly left the decision to share the police’s records on the war on drugs with the CHR to the DOJ.

De Lima, a former DOJ chief herself, however, said the PNP and DOJ should cooperate with the CHR by also sharing with the latter relevant drug war files for independent probe.

She said the CHR’s independent and fair investigation on the number of extrajudicial killings is crucial and the records coming from the PNP and CHR are significant to help uncover the truth about the killings.

“Kailangan dito ng tunay na kooperasyon, at hindi ningas-kugon lang na mga inisyatiba, (What we need here is real coordination, not a half-hearted initiative),” De Lima said.