Calida says human rights groups not entitled to access all drug war documents | Inquirer News
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Calida says human rights groups not entitled to access all drug war documents

/ 04:40 PM March 05, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Solicitor General Jose Calida denied that his office is blocking the release of documents related to the government’s war on drugs, saying that the human rights groups who took the case to the Supreme Court are not entitled to the records.

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“We are not hiding. They are not entitled to it,” Calida told reporters Tuesday at the sidelines of the oral argument on the legality of Legal Education Board’s (LEB) policy centralizing entrance examinations in law schools.

CenterLaw filed a petition in 2017 with the high court seeking the issuance of a writ of amparo to protect the residents of 26 barangays in San Andres Bukid, Manila City against the government’s war on drugs.

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The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) also filed a petition with the high court then asking the magistrates to declare as unconstitutional the Philippine National Police’s “Oplan Double Barrel,” which it said allows the police to “neutralize” suspected drug pushers instead of arresting and prosecuting them.

Calida filed an appeal but was rejected by the Supreme Court in April last year. The following month, the OSG submitted some of the required details and documents and sought two more months to comply with the order.

But in a September 2018 motion, Calida again demurred on the release of thousands of documents, saying that they contain “very sensitive information with law enforcement and [has] national security implications.”

He also said that the petitioners — CenterLaw and FLAG — are only entitled to documents related to the killings stated in their petitions, but not to other documents related to the other killings.

Centerlaw again went to the Supreme Court asking it to compel Calida to provide them copies of the documents related to the drug war.

But Calida would not budge.

“Our position was we should not give [the documents] because we are not trying the entire EJK (extra-judicial killings) in the Philippines and besides, the Supreme Court cannot be a trier of fact,” Calida told reporters.

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“What is their business trying to know other incidents? They are not the lawyers of all EJKs?” he asked. /ee

RELATED STORY:
READ: Calida blocking release of drug war docs despite SC order — lawyers group

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