MANILA—The Philippine National Police is backing the Department of Justice in its case buildup against police officers involved in 52 deaths linked to the country's war on drugs, a police official said Thursday.
PNP spokesperson Col. Roderick Augustus Alba said the police force would be "extending full support and cooperation" to the justice department.
"Ang tulong ng (The help of) PNP is to provide them with all the necessary data and information. We submit to the sound discretion nung ating (of the) Department of Justice. Kasi po (Because) we don’t want any of our actions getting in the way sa ginagawang (in the conduct of) case buildup ng (of the) National Bureau of Investigation," he told TeleRadyo.
The PNP also urged witnesses in these cases "to come forward" to hold the involved police officers accountable for their action, Alba said.
In a statement Wednesday, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar welcomed the decision of the DOJ to release the summary of the 52 drug-war related cases.
He said it was "consistent with the PNP stand for transparency and accountability in the police organization."
However, Eleazar noted the sacrifices of policemen on the ground and the accomplishments of the campaign against illegal drugs.
The campaign, he said, resulted in "the confiscation of multi-billion peso worth of illegal drugs, the neutralization of key players in the illegal drugs trade in the country and the dismantling of shabu laboratories in the country."
Still, the PNP chief reminded police personnel to strictly follow operational procedures.
"Let this serves as a lesson to all our personnel that as police officers, we are law enforcers who are duty-bound to uphold the law. Tagapagpatupad tayo ng batas, hindi tayo ang batas (We implement the law, we are not the law)," he said.
The DOJ on Wednesday released for the first time details about some of the cases reviewed by its drug war review panel.
The 20-page table showed drug suspects dying of multiple gunshot wounds with 1 suspect sustaining no less than 15 shots in a police operation.
The report contained details about 52 cases where the PNP had earlier found administrative liability in some 150 police officers.
The agency released the matrix about a month after the International Criminal Court launched a full inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war.
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