Not feasible for CHR reps to join anti-drug ops: commissioner


Posted at Aug 15 2022 03:11 PM

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MANILA – A lawmaker’s proposal to make police officials include Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in their anti-illegal drugs operations is simply not feasible, the head of the country’s top human rights panel said Monday. 

CHR Executive Director Jacqueline De Guia’s comments come after Bagong Henerasyon (BH) Party-list Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy filed House Bill 1011 which seeks to create an inter-agency task force to safely embed CHR agents within the anti-drug operations conducted by the PNP.

“Let me just quickly say that we do support the initiative to make sure that all drug operations are legally compliant as well as human rights-based. However when we talk about feasibility, it’s not just feasible and it’s not just sustainable to make sure that all CHR investigators are in all drug operations to be conducted by the police force,” De Guia told ANC’s “Rundown.”

“If we were to compare the sheer number of police operations vis-à-vis the number of investigators we have, it just pales into comparison. We only have 16 regional offices all over the country and in such regional offices, we only have 8 to 10 investigators and all of them are multitasking as we speak right now. And drug operations are conducted in the thousands every month,” she added.

De Guia stressed that the commission continues to envision a “highly-professionalized police force that is very competent in drug operations but very much well-versed also in the laws, as well as very compliant with the rule of law.”

That is why, she said, they are investing instead in capacity-building programs for cops.

“We also invest heavily in making sure that our police are professionalized,” she said.

In late June, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan asked the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to allow his office to resume its probe into the drug war in the Philippines despite a request from the Philippine government to defer it.

In a 53-page request, Khan said the Philippine government has not demonstrated it has investigated or is investigating crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction.

In October 2021, the Department of Justice (DOJ) drug war review panel came out with its matrix of 52 cases forwarded from the Philippine National Police’s Internal Affairs Service.

Khan, however, has rejected this as a mere “administrative” “desk review."

De Guia said more cases involving alleged killings in the drug war need to reach Philippine courts.

“The DOJ has done a good step in the previous administration for example, in constituting the review panel and in reviewing those cases and passing those to the NBI,” she said.

“We quickly have to move past that and have those cases moving forward for accountability to take place and for the international community to recognize that indeed our justice system is working domestically,” she added.

--ANC, 15 August 2022