There are 81 criminal cases involving deaths during anti-illegal drugs operations which are now pending before the courts or are undergoing preliminary investigation (PI) before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“That number may increase as the review panel (led by DOJ) proceeds with the task before it,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Tuesday afternoon, June 22.
Guevarra said the “cooperation of the victims’ families and their witnesses is crucial” in the prosecution of the cases in courts and during the formal investigation.
“Unless they come forward and testify, it would be extremely difficult for our investigating agencies to build up cases against erring law enforcers,” he explained.
He assured that the DOJ-led panel will continue to review cases concerning deaths that happened during drug operations.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have turned over to the DOJ the records of about 200 cases where deaths occurred during their illegal drugs operations.
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 deaths during anti-illegal drugs operations that have taken place since 2016 under the administration of President Duterte.