Diokno says review of only 52 deaths in war on drugs 'grossly insufficient'

"Insufficient and inconsistent."

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Human rights lawyer and senatorial candidate Chel Diokno slammed the review on the 52 cases of deaths during police anti-narcotics operations in the country, saying it fails to provide the real extent of human rights violation during the deadly war on drugs.

"The review of just 52 cases barely scratches the surface and is grossly insufficient and inconsistent with the government’s commitments under international law to provide effective review of cases involving alleged extralegal killings," Diokno said in a statement on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Diokno, who serves as the national chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), stressed that reviewing only those cases submitted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and its Internal Affairs Services (IAS) "fails to provide a comprehensive and meaningful assessment of the real extent of the violation of human rights" committed during the war on drugs.

"It does not provide useful information to assist in making the offenders accountable; nor does it provide comfort or solace to the

families of the victims of those killed in the name of the Duterte administration’s so-called 'war on drugs'," Diokno said.

The human rights lawyer pointed out that the Interagency Panel led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) "must review all the remaining cases, including those barred by the President."

He added that the DOJ must then take the next "logical step" --to prosecute those it has already found responsible.

"This is not just to fulfill in good faith the country’s international commitments under international law but also to provide the true picture of the extent of the killings under the so-called 'war on drugs'," Diokno said.

Diokno further said that analyzing the results of the review showed a "recurring theme" among the killings where the victim fires at the police, who will then retaliate, killing the victim.

This, he said, only revealed what human rights advocates have known all along which have been consistently brought to the attention of the government.

He added that the review reveals that "there is lack of transparency in the investigation of the thousands of killings related to the so-called 'war on drugs' and that whatever investigation is conducted is either watered down or trivialized."

"The people deserve more than what the panel is providing," the senatorial aspirant said.

As of Aug. 31, 2021, there have been 6,191 recorded deaths of persons who died during anti-drug operations.