DOJ: Drug war review unearths 'not so flattering' initial findings

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2021 03:55 PM | Updated as of Feb 06 2021 03:18 AM

DOJ: Drug war review unearths 'not so flattering' initial findings 1
Members of human rights groups lay flowers on photos of victims of extra-judicial killings as part of activities leading up to International Human Rights Day at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City on Dec. 1, 2020. The groups called on the Duterte administration to end its war on drugs and the counterinsurgency operations, which they say have resulted in the extrajudicial killings of activists and human rights defenders. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — The Department of Justice said on Friday its ongoing review has unearthed "not so flattering findings" into some police officers leading President Rodrigo Duterte's signature anti-narcotics drive. 

The agency last December submitted to Duterte initial findings into around 5,000 deaths in the drug war. The report covered several "pilot areas" with "concentrated" deaths, like Central Luzon, Region 4, and "major cities," said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. 

"Andoon tayo sa stage na iyon ngayon. We provided a copy of the report where we made certain findings, not so flattering, against certain police enforcement officers involved sa (in the) drug operations," he said in a public briefing. 

(We are at that stage now.)

These findings "will be made public at the proper time," said Guevarra. 

"Hinihintay lang namin iyong tamang time para to share. But there is no intent to hide," said the official.

(We are just waiting for the right time.)

The justice department is giving the police "sufficient time" to comment on the findings, he said. 

"Right now, we are taking action on the finding that we have come up [with] in this initial report. Hindi pa naman siya kumpleto talaga. Mayroon pang mga further investigations na gagawin in other areas, like in the Visayas and Mindanao," said the DOJ chief. 

(It is not yet complete. We will still conduct further investigations.)

"We do not want to make it appear na iyong findings namin (that our findings) in certain pilot areas... ay (is) truly representative of what is happening throughout the country," he added. 

Guevarra did not address a media question on whether or not the DOJ should include the Commission on Human Rights and other stakeholders in the drug war review. 

United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Agnes Callamard earlier this month challenged the panel leading the review to include President Rodrigo Duterte in the probe to seek accountability over supposedly thousands of deaths. 

The President had often publicly defended police officers implicated in the killings of drug suspects, and repeatedly promised protection. However, Duterte and his aides have repeatedly denied rights violations in the drug war, saying suspects were killed because they resisted arrest.


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