Nothing in drug war review recommends changes in PNP policy: NUPL

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2021 06:18 PM

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MANILA – The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said Wednesday there is nothing in the Department of Justice’s report on its latest review on drug war cases in the country that recommends changes in police procedures amid the killings that happened.

The DOJ released a 20-page information table on 52 cases involving deaths during police anti-narcotics operations since the start of the Duterte administration.

Of the cases that were reviewed, majority were buy-bust operations. The suspects allegedly drew their guns and resisted arrest, but some medical reports showed that the suspects tested negative for gunpowder nitrates.

“So you have 52 cases. We have about 150 police officer, possibly to be filed with murder charges. But, what happens to policy? What does this say about policy?” Atty. Kristina Conti said on ANC’s “Dateline Philippines.”

“There’s nothing in it that recommends that police change their policies. There’s nothing in this that says that, or instructions to the police what to do. And clearly, there is nothing here which says, 'Stop with the killings, Stop tokhang, or suspend these operations',” she said.

Conti also noted that the DOJ’s report did not mention anything about criminal charges that erring policemen may face.

“There has already been administrative sanctions for some, actually for most of them. But then, what we have been expecting was something clear about criminal charges. If you notice, there’s nothing or no recommendation about criminal charges to be pursued.”

“And really, this is where we come in. NUPL already has criminal charges pending before the court, to be filed before the courts as approved by the Office of the Ombudsman,” she said.

The cases covered by the DOJ's second drug war review were from all over the country. Only a few cases were from the National Capital Region where most of the thousands of drug war killings were recorded.

Not indicated in the table released by the DOJ are the names of the police officers involved in the 52 drug war cases it reviewed.

As the agency pointed out, one of the 52 cases did not appear to be drug-related, while another one did not involve the death of a suspect.

This is the first time the DOJ released information since it started its drug war review in February 2020. The agency has yet to release similar information on the over 300 cases covered by its first drug war review.

Officially, 6,200 drug suspects were killed in what police said were sting operations where suspects resisted arrest since the start of the Duterte administration in 2016.

But some groups say many thousands more people, mostly users or small-time dealers, were killed. Police have denied involvement in those deaths.

The International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber last month gave its green light for the ICC Prosecutor to conduct a formal probe on the drug war killings in the Philippines.

--ANC, 20 October 2021