SolGen promises to abide by SC ruling on 'tokhang' documents

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2019 02:19 PM

MANILA- The government's top lawyer has said he will "faithfully abide" by the Supreme Court's order to release documents related to “Oplan Tokhang,” the anti-narcotics operations linked to deaths of drug suspects. 

"Upon receipt of the Supreme Court's resolution, the OSG will faithfully abide with the Court's directive," Solicitor General Jose Calida said in a statement Thursday.

He added that copies of the requested police documents named in the petitions of 2 challengers have already been provided.

The top court earlier ordered the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to furnish petitioners copies of thousands of police documents in relation to Oplan Tokhang.

Calida also clarified that while his office objected to providing petitioners copies of the police documents, it, however, submitted the files to the high tribunal.

"From the time it was directed by the Supreme Court during oral arguments to submit the said documents, the OSG faithfully and promptly did so," he said.

Calida explained that his office objected to furnishing petitioners copies of certain documents because these contained sensitive information on national security.

"It could spell the success or failure of follow-up operations by police and other law enforcement bodies, aside from endangering the lives of suspects and accused persons already in lawful custody," he said.

"Hence, the OSG’s reservation on furnishing the petitioners copies of the said documents is founded on solid legal framework and public interest concerns," he added.

Two petitions questioning the constitutionality of the government’s war on drugs are currently pending in the high court.

The petition filed by Aileen Almora, Rowena Aparri, and Jefferson Soriano and represented by the Free Legal Assistance Group urged the high court to strike down as unconstitutional Philippine National Police (PNP) Command Memorandum Circular (CMC) No. 16 – 2016 for Oplan Double Barrel, the police’s anti-drug campaign; and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular 2017-112, which put up a system of anonymous reporting for offenses involving illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.

The second petition, filed by Ma. Juanita Daño and represented by the Center for International Law, urged the high court to bar the Manila Police District Station 6 “from conducting any anti-illegal drugs or anti-criminal operations in San Andres Bukid without the required coordination and presence of representatives from the barangay, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the media, and such other persons required to be notified or having the authority to be present at and observe such operations.”