Palace still won't share drug war records with CHR; officials insist local courts are working

Published September 16, 2021, 2:16 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque is firm that Malacañang will not share records of the administration’s infamous drug war to the public nor the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) but assured the people that those guilty of crimes are being investigated, tried, and punished.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (FILE PHOTOS MALACAÑANG/RTVM/MANILA BULLETIN)

Roque made the statement after a pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) green-lit the said probe, citing a “reasonable basis” to believe that crimes against humanity had been committed in the course of the anti-illegal drugs campaign.

In his press briefing on Thursday, Roque thumbed down suggestions to just share the drug war records to the CHR to show that the government has nothing to hide

He said pertinent documents were already turned over to the Department of Justice (DOJ) anyway.

“Ang importante kasi, DOJ. Kasi DOJ, sa ating sistemang legal, ang magsasampa ng kaso (What’s important is the DOJ because it is the one that will file the cases according to our legal system),” Roque said.

“Walang kapangyarihang magsampa ng kaso ang CHR (The CHR had no power to file cases),” he added.

The Palace official added that Malacañang does not care if this will give off the wrong impression about how it values transparency, saying what is important is the country’s justice system is working.

“We don’t care about impression. We care about the fact that the pillars of the criminal justice system are working,” Roque said.

“Why would I care about transparency when we’re ensuring that guilty individuals are investigated, prosecuted, and punished for their acts?” he added.

According to Roque, the State is fulfilling its obligation to provide an adequate domestic legal remedy to victims of human rights violations and to prosecute and punish the guilty ones.

“Ang paninindigan ng Presidente, lahat ng gustong magreklamo bukas po ang mga hukuman sa Pilipinas (The President’s stand is all those who want to file a complaint, our courts are open),” he said.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo also said in a statement that local courts are functioning well.

“We stress that we are able and willing to prosecute those who abuse their power and commit crimes against the citizenry if only genuine complainants come forward to the proper authorities instead of personalities who will use their plight for political ambitions,” he said.

In June this year, Malacañang rejected suggestions that crimes against humanity were committed in the course of President Duterte’s bloody drug war, saying they were merely “collateral damage.”