Guevarra on review of deaths in drug war cases: ‘We will examine as many as we could’

Published October 22, 2021, 1:28 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra vowed to examine “as many as we could” the cases of deaths in illegal drugs operations before the end of the term of President Duterte in 2022.

“It all depends on the manpower resources that we can muster and the extent of cooperation that the PNP (Philippine National Police) will extend to us,” Guevarra said on Friday, Oct. 22.

He explained that records and files on illegal drugs operations “are not consolidated or centralized in a single office but are to be found in the various regional offices of the PNP.”

“We may also consider random sampling of cases from all regions. It is possible that certain patterns may be observed without having to examine each and every case,” he said.

Last Wednesday during the “Laging Handa” briefing, DOJ Undersecretary Adrian Ferdinand S. Sugay said the DOJ may not be able to finish the review of the thousands of cases involving deaths during the illegal drugs operations.

“Masyado marami yan (It’s so many). We have a few months to do it,” Sugay said.

Sugay noted that the number of cases has already reached over 6,000.

“Merong anim na libo yan na natitira na kailangan tingnan (There are 6,000 more that have to be looked into),” he said.

“Ang direktiba ni Secretary Guevarra maybe we should go after cases doon sa mga urban areas (Guevarra has instructed to review cases that took place in urban areas),” he added.

He pointed out that PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo T. Eleazar has already expressed to the DOJ his “willingness, readiness to make available itong mga case records na ito (the records of these cases).”

Fifty-two cases involving deaths in drug war operations had been reviewed by the DOJ. The results had been given to the President, the PNP and to the NBI which was ordered by Guevarra to conduct case buildups and to file charges if evidence warrants.