Review of deaths in drug war operations can’t be done in few months – Guevarra

Published June 26, 2022, 1:15 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra

Outgoing Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Sunday, June 26, said the review of thousands of illegal drugs operations where several deaths occurred “cannot be finished in a few months.”

Guevarra’s statement was issued amidst claims by International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan that the Philippines has not been investigating whether the killings were committed upon the orders from the government hierarchy.

“The GovPH does not appear to be investigating whether any of the alleged crimes were committed pursuant to a policy or occurred systemically, or whether any person in the higher echelons of the police or government may be criminally responsible. For these reasons alone, the Court should not defer to the GovPH’s investigation,” Khan said.

“I respect his view but I think he should have waited for our own efforts to bear some fruit,” Guevarra said.

“An investigation of this magnitude and complexity cannot be finished in a few months,” he explained.

Guevarra expressed hope that his successor, Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin “Boying” C. Remulla, will continue with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) review of the anti-illegal drugs operations which resulted in deaths to suspects.

“I hope the incoming SOJ (secretary of justice) will complete what I’ve begun,” Guevarra said.

On June 30, 2020, Guevarra told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that the Philippine government is conducting “a judicious review of the 5,655 anti-illegal drug operations where deaths occurred.” The operations were conducted during the administration of President Duterte.