No reason for ICC to conduct probe into drug war- Azurin

The Philippine National Police (PNP) does not see the need for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct its own investigation into the allegations of extra-judicial killings during the conduct of the government's drug war.

For PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr., the reason is simple: the Philippine government's investigation is still ongoing pertaining to the allegations that government anti-narcotics operatives, particularly from the police force, violated human rights laws and operational procedures in running after drug personalities in the country.

"We already submitted 300 case folders of which 52 cases were filed against PNP operatives pertaining to the drug operations," said Azurin.

The 52 cases involve 152 policemen.

"That's why I don't see any reason why the ICC would come in to investigate because the investigation is continuously being done in partnership with the DOJ," said Azurin.

The case folders were submitted to the Department of Justice during the time of PNP chief Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar.

Since then, no case folders were reportedly submitted to the DOJ and Azurin said the PNP has not forwarded additional case folders since he assumed the top police post in August last year.

Azurin, however, said that at the level of the PNP, the review of cases on all police operations is ongoing.

Hen the urged the ICC to respect the Philippines' sovereignty and acknowledge the capacity of the country's judicial system.

“The PNP has always maintained, that the Philippines has a robust, efficient, and functioning criminal justice system with active legal proceedings and remedies available to address any claim of human rights abuses in the government's anti-illegal drug campaign. this is evidenced by ongoing investigations on all drug-related deaths and cases of successful prosecution of some government personnel involved in related crimes,” said Azurin.

"Additionally, there are administrative cases being handled by the PNP Internal Affairs Service and drug cases filed in court against drug personalities that rightfully describe the active stance of the PNP in addressing the drug problem in the country and at the same time, internal discipline measures within the organization," he added.

Early this year, the ICC allowed the continuity of the investigation into the drug war during the time of president Rodrigo Duterte.

More than 6,000 illegal drugs personalities have died in various police operations since July 2016. Thousands more were killed by drug war-inspired vigilante groups.

Scores of innocent civilians, including children, died after they were allegedly caught in the crossfires during the alleged shootouts between the police and illegal drugs personalities.

The Philippine government, however, has expressed its intention not to cooperate, with DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla quoted saying that the ICC probe is an insult to the Philippine government.