Duterte clearance needed to probe soldiers, police for drug war deaths – DILG

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2017 08:01 PM

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has refused the request of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to open all case folders of those killed under the government's drug war. 

Undersecretary Catalino Cuy, officer-in-charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), said the President has insisted that no police officer or soldier can be investigated for alleged human rights violations without his permission. 

"Once it's collated, we have to get clearance from the President," Cuy said. 

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chair Chito Gascon and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa already had initial talks in Camp Crame last Aug. 29 on a possible cooperation in the investigation of casualties in the war on drugs. 

"Sinabi ko naman sa kanya nung nag-meeting kami na ‘Sir, mayroon pong ganoong instruction si Presidente (I told him when we met that the President had left instructions),'" Cuy said. 

"Depende nga kung papayag si Presidente but, as I have said, it's a standing instruction for us." 

Cuy said officials will find other ways to help CHR in its investigation, even without having access to all case folders. 

"We can find other ways to help the CHR. We will continue the meeting. I hope maintindihan nila 'yung position namin," Cuy said. 

At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Dela Rosa said the PNP has recorded 2,216 cases of drug suspects killed in police operations.

This is contrary to estimates by human rights organizations, which put the death toll at 9,000 to 10,000, figures that the government has said are bloated. 

The administration has repeatedly denied that extrajudicial killings are state-sponsored.