Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), assured on Thursday, Sept. 23, that they are an active role in the review of the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign amid concerns on human rights abuses in the conduct drug war since July 2016.
Eleazar’s statement came after President Duterte told the United Nations General Assembly that he had instructed the PNP as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the conduct of the campaign against narcotics. The President also said that those found to have acted beyond bounds shall be made accountable before our laws.
“We have done a lot in terms of strengthening transparency and accountability in the PNP. From the immediate actions on our erring personnel, the distribution of body-worn cameras and the strong coordination with the Department of Justice for the review of cases relating to the campaign against illegal drugs, these all prove that we are not hiding anything and that there is no reason for us to do so,” said Eleazar.
In fact, he said he immediately met with Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra to express the PNP’s readiness to cooperate in the review and investigation on all police operations relating to illegal drugs.
More than 6,000 people died in police operations since July 2016 and some critics are saying that nanlaban (suspect would engage policemen in gun battle) narrative of the PNP in all the operations is highly-questionable.
But Eleazar said that since he assumed the Chief PNP post, they made sure that all the police operations, even those not related to illegal drugs campaign, that resulted in the deaths or injuries of both the target of the operations and the police personnel are always reviewed by the Internal Affairs Service.
In this way, he said that the PNP will make sure that all personnel are following the Police Operational Procedures.
As part of the protocol, Eleazar said that the PNP will submit to the decision of the Chief Executive pertaining to the release of the documents on police operations on illegal drugs.
“As a law enforcement agency under the Executive branch of the government, we are bound by time-honored protocols and these must be followed under the concept of chain of command—with the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government as our immediate supervisor and finally the President as our Commander-In-Chief,” said Eleazar.