Guevarra: Irregularities seen in more than half of anti-drug police operations
MANILA, Philippines—More than half of thousands of anti-drug operations launched by police under the Duterte administration failed to comply with rules of engagement and protocol, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday (Feb. 24) told United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
In a video message at the 7th meeting of the UNHRC’s 46th regular session, Guevarra said this was among the initial findings of a government panel, led by the Department of Justice, that is investigating law enforcement operations that led to the killing of drug suspects.
He said state agents had “asserted” that the drug suspects had been killed after they “resisted arrest or attempted to draw a weapon and fight back”. “Nanlaban” became the common term for these cases.
“Yet, no full examination of the weapon recovered was conducted. No verification of its ownership was undertaken. No request for ballistic examination or paraffin test was pursued until its completion,” Guevarra said.
“It was also noted that among others, in more than half of the records reviewed, the law enforcement agents involved failed to follow standard protocols pertaining to coordination with other agencies and the processing of the crime scene,” he added.
He also said the appropriate state agencies had already been addressing the findings of the review panel and that a number of policemen have been recommended for criminal prosecution and administrative procedures.
“It is now the immediate task of the review panel to ensure that these recommendations have been acted upon and carried out by the proper disciplinarian authorities and that measures are adopted to minimize loss of lives during legitimate law enforcement operations against illegal drugs,” the justice secretary said.
Police had counted up to 6,000 dead in anti-drug operations but human rights groups said the number could be at least four times bigger.
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