Bayan Muna to DOJ: Go after cops involved in drug killings

Published October 5, 2021, 4:05 PM

by Manila Bulletin

House of Representatives Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to go beyond the 154 policemen charged in the death of drug suspects in the government’s drug war on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

“Why limit the filing of cases to 52 killings of drug suspects only when the Philippine National Police (PNP) itself admitted that there were 6,000 more or less drug suspects who were killed since July 1, 2016 in this bloody drug war?” the Davao-based solon said.

“That number of cases is barely 0.9% of the total senseless deaths even if we based it only on the official numbers admitted by the PNP. This is highly unacceptable and may be interpreted as an attempt of ‘crime washing’ the culpability of law enforcement officers and their agents in the dubious but bloody ‘nanlaban (fought)’ narrative scheme.” The DOJ has already finished its review of the 52 cases in over 6,000 illegal drugs operations directed by the PNP since 2016. Deaths were reported in the said police operations.

In the 52 cases turned over by the PNP to the DOJ for review, the PNP-Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) found administrative liability on some policemen.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra did not give details on the results of the review but said that he will discuss the results with the DOJ panel of reviewers.

“The DOJ should now make public its investigation report on how many of those who were involved in these thousands of killings are now apparently off the hook. It should also submit its full report to Congress as the DOJ committed during the budget deliberations,” Zarate said.

Zarate added that the already identified policemen “should, at the very least, be immediately placed under preventive suspension, so as not to further influence the investigation or tamper with any evidence.”

“Considering the lapse of time since these killings started in 2016, the tampering of evidence to erase any culpability by those involved is not really remote. Thus, the DOJ-led investigation should also address this issue to prevent further injustice done to the victims and their families,” said the Deputy Minority leader who belongs to the Makabayan bloc.

“We need categorical assurances from the DOJ that all drug-related killings starting with the 6,000 already admitted by the PNP would be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.” “Justice is the only consolation the families of the victims can demand now,” Zarate added. (MELVIN SARANGAY)