DOJ to review PNP records it received on drug war cases

Published June 2, 2021, 10:09 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) received from the Philippine National Police (PNP) last Tuesday, June 1, the records of the cases which will be reviewed to determine liability on reported deaths of suspects and other persons during police operations against illegal drugs.

“We shall immediately go over the contents of these files and decide how to proceed further,” said Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra.

However, instead of the records on 61 cases as committed by the PNP, Guevarra said the DOJ received only those pertaining to 53 cases.

He said he was told that the eight other cases have not yet been completely disposed of by the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS).

He pointed out that the DOJ does not need the approval of President Duterte in the review of the cases.

This was stressed by Guevarra after the President told human rights groups that they cannot be given full access to the records of deaths of drug suspects and communist rebels like the New People’s Army (NPA) due to national security issues.

“We do not find it necessary to seek the President’s approval for any criminal investigation and prosecution that may ensue, but we shall keep in mind his concern for national security as we evaluate each and every case,” he said.

As part of its commitment before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a DOJ-led panel has been reviewing since last year cases involving killings during anti-illegal drugs operations that have taken place under the Duterte administration.

Last May 21, Guevarra and PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar met and agreed to allow the DOJ to access and review 61 cases that the PNP-IAS investigated and found policemen liable.

Guevarra said the development is “a very significant milestone in the government’s efforts to exact accountability.”