Despite agreement with PNP, only NBI is probing 56 deaths in 52 cases of illegal drug operations

Published November 29, 2021, 2:19 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

National Bureau of Investigation (2)

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) assured its continued probe on 52 cases of illegal drugs operations that resulted in deaths to 56 suspects and other persons.

NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand M. Lavin said that while the agency has an agreement with the Philippine National Police (PNP) for a joint investigation, “the bureau is conducting the probe alone.”

“We have clustered regional teams across the archipelago to handle investigations on 52 EJK (extrajudicial killing) cases referred by DOJ (Department of Justice),” Lavin said.

He said the 52 cases are the only cases, so far, under investigation by the NBI.

Records showed that the 52 cases were submitted by the PNP for DOJ review last June after the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the PNP found liabilities on the part of policemen involved in the operations.

After the review, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra turned over the results to the NBI for case buildup against 154 policemen involved in the 52 cases.

Last Nov. 3, the NBI and PNP signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that would allow the two agencies to “jointly evaluate the government’s anti-illegal drug operations, and, where necessary, determine possible criminal liability on the part of the police officers involved in these operations.”

“As state agencies, both Parties seek to ascertain the truth regarding the allegations of human rights violations and possible criminal liability in the conduct of the government’s anti-illegal drug operations,” the MOA provides.

Under the MOA, the NBI and PNP committed to “guarantee the integrity and the immediate availability to the other party of any and all necessary information, including documents, records, and any and all relevant evidence. The Parties shall collect, provide, and/or transmit documents, records, and any and all relevant evidence in such manner as may be deemed convenient and appropriate to ensure confidentiality.”

It provides that “the Parties shall prepare a full and detailed report of all relevant findings and recommendations for submission to, and consideration of, the respective agency heads, and, where necessary, file the appropriate criminal complaints against those found to have committed violations of applicable laws in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations.”

Also under the MOA, the NBI and PNP will also “designate representatives from their respective agencies for ease of coordination.”

However, as of Monday, Nov. 29, representatives from NBI and PNP have not been named and the joint team has not been constituted.