Guevarra says Duterte will not restrain DOJ's review of deaths in illegal drugs operations

Published June 2, 2021, 2:46 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra

President Duterte will not restrain the review being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the deaths that occurred during the police operations against illegal drugs.

This was assured by Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Wednesday, June 1, amidst the President’s declarations that human rights groups 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.

Guevarra recalled that he had told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that a DOJ-led panel has been reviewing since 2020 cases involving deaths during the anti-illegal drugs operations that have taken place under the Duterte administration.

“I spoke about the drug war review last year before the UN; he (Duterte) didn’t say anything to restrain it,” he said.

“I submitted an initial report to the President and spoke again before the human rights council last February, noting certain lapses in police operations; the President never called my attention to it,” he added.

When the DOJ and the PNP agreed to share information on administrative cases filed against erring police officers last month, “the President has not raised any objection,” he stressed.

“The DOJ has full access, except a few cases that are still pending with the PNP-IAS (Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service),” he noted. “In fact, we have these case files now at the DOJ,” he added.

At the same time, Guevarra said the DOJ has already received on Tuesday, June 1, the records of the 53 cases where the PNP-IAS found liability among the policemen involved.

Aside from these cases, he said the DOJ will also have “access to all the cases disposed of by the PNP-IAS.”