As PNP okays DOJ access to drug war deaths files, CHR may not have same clearance
MANILA, Philippines — If the Department of Justice (DOJ) can now access the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) investigation records about deaths in the administration’s bloody anti-drug campaign, it remains unclear if the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) can enjoy the same passage.
PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar earlier said the DOJ will have access not only to the 61 cases where its Internal Affairs Office (IAS) found police’s administrative and criminal liability but also to other deaths related to the brutal war on drugs.
Guevarra said Eleazar’s statement is a welcome development.
“If the PNP Chief has said that the review panel may also review these other cases, we will be very happy to do so, as this is what we had wanted in the first place,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra, however, said it will be up to the PNP to decide if the CHR will be given similar access to its investigation records.
The Justice Chief has promised the United Nations Human Rights Council to engage the country’s CHR in its drug war review.
“The DOJ has its own separate agreement with the CHR. Besides, the CHR’s involvement may be in some other form, such as in locating and assisting witnesses. This was one of the things that I discussed with the CHR, as I intend to honor the DOJ’s commitment to engage the CHR in this endeavor,” Guevarra said.
Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said they are currently drafting the memorandum of agreement between DOJ and PNP for the review of the records.
“We hope to finalize this document in the next few days. In the meantime, we will already coordinate with PNP-IAS in preparation for the review of these case files,” Sugay said.
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