MANILA - Deputy Minority Leader Harry Roque on Wednesday asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to submit a report on inquest proceedings on deaths related to the drug war.
Roque, the Kabayan Party-list Representative, reminded PNP Chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa that the improved peace and order situation he claims to have established is questionable without inquest proceedings on some 3,900 deaths in anti-drug operations.
"Before you call your critics ingrates, you should first produce the inquest proceeding reports of all the deaths committed in the PNP's war on drugs. Without these reports, the peace and order you claim people are enjoying now is highly suspect," said the lawmaker.
Roque had previously asked for the reports, which he said should be released to allay suspicion of wrongful deaths in police operations.
He said of the 3,906 deaths recorded in police anti-drug operations since the start of the Duterte administration, the PNP leadership has not submitted any inquest report at all.
Roque also corrected a quote attributed to him that only 10 inquest reports were submitted.
"What was given to me was a letter from the PNP dated August 24, 2017 that, among other things, gave an update on the investigation of drug-related cases involving police officers. I misplaced this file and found it just now. I stand corrected," he said.
"The report sent to my office included the case of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, where four police officers were involved, and the much earlier Wheel of Torture case, which involved six police officers. There is no indication in the report that any of these 3,906 or so deaths arising from drug operations underwent inquest proceeding," he added.
Latest police estimate placed the number of drug suspects slain in legitimate police operations at around 3,800, but human rights activists say the death toll may have exceeded 10,000.
The administration has repeatedly asserted that it does not sanction unlawful killings.
MULTISECTORAL COLLABORATION IN WAR ON DRUGS
Meanwhile, the House minority called for a collaboration of public, private, and non-profit sectors to further the administration's battle against illegal drugs.
"We encourage socio-civic organizations and local communities to develop concrete action plans that will develop programs to keep drugs out of their homes," said House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez.
"One idea would be to encourage more athletic, or wholesome after-school activities for the youth. It is time that we all work together, and harder, for a drug-free Philippines," he said.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) earlier revealed that 3 powerful triads were the top "shabu" suppliers in the country.
Suarez said the Taiwan-based United Bamboo Gang "engages in prostitution, human trafficking, gambling, worldwide drug trafficking, and other illegal activities," while the Hong Kong-based 14K triad is involved in "large-scale trafficking of drugs in many countries around the world."
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said the 2 groups "have taken over" drug operations in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the Sun Yee On Triad, the other group PDEA had named, is one of the leading triads in China, said Suarez.
Formerly based in Hong Kong, the syndicate is now based in Macau and mainland China, with 55,000 members worldwide. Together, the 14K and Sun Yee On triads supply Mexico's notorious Sinaloa Drug Cartel, Suarez said.
Citing PDEA information, the lawmaker added that these drug trafficking organizations are "able to bring illegal drugs to our country through ship-side smuggling in high seas, seaports and airports."
"The reports reveal that shabu is being cooked in the high seas, dumped overboard, and later retrieved through nets. In July 2016, a floating shabu laboratory was discovered near the coast of Zambales. Contrabands are also buried to the ground in coastal areas by the triads, and are later retrieved by local contacts. Last year, 180 kilograms of shabu worth Php 900 million were recovered from the ground in Claveria, Cagayan," he said.
"We should be alarmed by the gravity of the illegal drug problem of our country. Even President Duterte himself admitted that he underestimated the country's drug menace," said Suarez.
He noted that the PDEA estimated a monthly illegal drug consumption worth P12 billion by about 4 million users in the country, with Metro Manila having the worst drug "affectation rate" at 96.48 percent.
"With the Duterte administration's intensified campaign against illegal drugs, 23 percent or 4,801 out of 20,872 barangays in the Philippines have been cleared of illegal drugs. There remains 77 percent of barangays that suffer from the drug menace," he said.