The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has found no evidence of mass violations of human rights by police in the government's war on drugs, rebuffing allegations of state-sponsored killings.
Citing the results of its own investigation, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III revealed that based on 25 randomly selected cases from July 1 to October 13, only two incidents were found to be questionable and have already been ordered for reinvestigation.
The 23 other cases “passed” the agency's scrutiny.
To date more than 5,000 people have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte waged his war on drugs. More than 3,000 of the counted deaths are classified as deaths under investigation while only around 1,000 are drug-related according to the Philippine National Police.
Despite the result of its investigation, the DILG said it will continue to emphasize respect for human rights for all units under its jurisdiction.
The agency has also not discounted the fact that some rights violations may have been committed during police operations, and encouraged witnesses to present evidence so erring personnel may be punished.
The probe recommended each police station to have a Philippine National Police (PNP) manual, and for officers to use a body camera during operations.
The DILG also criticized those using the war on drugs to smear the government, and dissuaded the use of the term “extra-judicial killing" (EJK).
'If a country has no death penalty, then there is no judicial killing. If there is no judicial killing, then there is no EJK," Densing said.