CHR deplores PNP’s ‘nonchalant’ probe on drug war deaths; ready to assist ICC

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) deplored the lack of cooperation on the part of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the investigation and resolution of cases of thousands of persons who died during illegal drugs operations.

Through Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit, the CHR urged the government to cooperate with the International Crime Commission (ICC) in its announced investigation as it expressed its willingness to support the probe once it starts.

Dumpit said the Philippine government’s cooperation in the ICC probe is the genuine way of showing that the country’s justice system is working.

She said that since the CHR, on its own, has been investigating the deaths of suspects and other persons in illegal drugs operations, the commission is ready to turn over to the ICC whatever it has on the probe if its assistance is sought.

In a statement posted on its website last Sept. 15, and was used as basis of Manila Bulletin’s news story, the ICC said the investigation will cover crimes allegedly committed between Nov. 1, 2011 and March 2019 “in the context of the so-called war on drugs campaign” during the administration of President Duterte, including those when he was Davao City mayor.

The Philippines has been a State party since Nov. 1, 2011 to the Rome Statute which created the ICC but President Duterte ordered the country’s withdrawal from its membership from the Statute on March 17, 2018.

Despite the withdrawal, the ICC maintained that while the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Statute took effect on March 17, 2019, the Court retains jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes that occurred on the territory of the Philippines while it was a State Party, from Nov. 1, 2011 up to and including March 16, 2019.

Last Sept. 16, the Office of the President, through Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, said that President Duterte would not cooperate with the ICC when it begins its probe into the “drug war.” He even insisted that such is not needed as Philippine “justice system is working.”

“Ang aming panawagan is dapat makilahok at tugunan itong proseso ng ICC. Kung ang sinasabi ay nag-wo-work ang ating sistema ng hustisya rito, dapat makita rin 'yon at maramdaman ng mga pamilya ng mga biktima (We are urging the government to cooperate with the ICC. If what they are claiming is that the justice system in the country is working, it should be seen and felt by the families of victims),” Dumpit said in a television interview.

“Palaging sinasabing for investigation, ilang taon na ang nakakaraan. Sa karamihan nung cases na dinulog sa kanila walang pakikipag-ugnayan ang ating kapulisan (They are always saying ‘for investigation,’ even it has always been years ago. In most of the cases referred to them, nobody in the police is cooperating),” she said.

She noted that out of the thousands of cases of killings in the name of “drug operations,” only the case of Kian Delos Santos had a successful prosecution at the trial level.

She lamented that the PNP is not cooperating with the families of “drug war” victims who are seeking justice for the deaths of their loved ones.

She noted that police reports on the killings are mostly “templated.”

“Kapag ang ating pamilya ay humihingi ng tulong sa kanila, mga dokumentong kailangan nila, hindi nabibigay (When families ask for their help, they don’t provide the documents that they are requesting). So, if there is non-cooperation it shows an unwillingness to cooperate,” she said.