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CHR: Hope PNP learned ‘lessons’ in waging drug war

CHR Chair Chito Gascon LYN RILLON

The Commission of Human Rights is hopeful that the Philippine National Police has learned some lessons from its conduct of antidrug operations for the past 18 months.

Human Rights Commissioner Jose Luis Martin Gascon made the remark on Thursday, two days after President Duterte ordered the PNP’s return to the government’s war on drugs but with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) still the main implementing agency.

While the CHR would not speculate on whether the move  would signal the start of yet another bloody campaign, Gascon said that “facts and evidence” showed that a significant number of those who lost loved ones in Mr. Duterte’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs have been calling for answers.

“Moving forward, hopefully there have been lessons learned,” he told reporters during a briefing at the CHR main headquarters in Quezon City.

“The antidrug operations have been suspended twice and the police themselves can [see] that there are issues that must be addressed in their work that must be in accordance with human rights,” Gascon added.

Access to documents

At the same time, he urged the PNP to give the CHR access to all documents regarding drug-related killings.

“We [ask] that they open all the case folders so we can probe the cases [from] beginning [to] end,” Gascon said, adding: “We hope that it would not be similar to the past 18 months where cases with unanswered questions piled up.”

On Wednesday, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa acceded to CHR’s request to be given case records of drug-related deaths. However, he said the PNP would only provide spot reports.

Drug raid with PDEA

Meanwhile, Quezon City policemen, along with PDEA agents, caught an alleged drug runner.

Derek Navado Framil yielded an estimated P100,000 worth of suspected “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) during a raid on his house in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City at 12:45 a.m. Thursday.

He was just one of nine suspects captured alive in six antidrug operations conducted after the PNP’s return to the frontline of the war on drugs.

Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, Quezon City Police District director, said the suspect had been under constant surveillance following reports that his house on Bernadette Street in Villa Lourdes Subdivision was being used as a drug den.

Shortly after midnight Wednesday, the joint team of PDEA agents and the newly reactivated antidrug units from the QCPD and Talipapa police station raided Framil’s house.

Police seized at least 30 sachets of suspected shabu, drug paraphernalia, two handguns and several bullets. Eleazar said the unlicensed firearms would undergo ballistic tests to determine if these had been used in other criminal activities.

According to Eleazar, Framil was placed under surveillance after neighbors reported seeing several men coming in and out of his house.

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