DOJ chief: Cops fear raps for sharing info
MANILA, Philippines — Among the challenges the Department of Justice (DOJ) is now facing in connection with its drug war review is getting the cooperation of law enforcement agencies, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra admitted on Sunday.
“We’re having difficulty, honestly, because we cannot get the full cooperation of law enforcement agencies,” he said in an interview over dzBB.
Guevarra said this was “[u]nderstandably so, because they were concerned that, in the end, they might face complaints for sharing information.”
According to the justice chief, both the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have expressed concern over sharing information about their drug operations because of possible liabilities under the Data Privacy Act.
Guevarra pointed out that the Data Privacy Commission has said the review of drug war records is part of the DOJ’s “legitimate investigation.”
Last week he said that the PNP has agreed to open 61 cases wherein its Internal Affairs Service has already found liability on the part of law enforcers concerned.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar had vowed that the PNP’s cooperation would not be limited to the 61 case files, “as long as the DOJ [requests] the availability of [other] information.”
Guevarra said: “The DOJ is willing to do [what it can] within the limits of our capabilities because that would be so many… It would probably take us a few months to determine, if aside from the administrative liability of our law enforcement agencies, there also are sufficient basis to prosecute them criminally.”
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday said Eleazar was “making all the right steps” in opening up the drug war cases for review.
In her weekly radio show, she said the PNP’s efforts toward transparency were an “encouraging” sign that reforms were being undertaken in the police organization.
“Eleazar has done many encouraging things. You get the feeling that he really acknowledges the problem and he’s trying to solve [them],” said Robredo, who two years ago was tapped by President Duterte to head an interagency council against drugs.
“I think Eleazar is making all the right steps by saying in public that we will try to make this right, that scalawag cops won’t evade accountability, [and] now [we have] this opening of cases for review of the DOJ,” she added.
Robredo said she hoped that Eleazar would “keep true to his promises” and institute reforms before his retirement in August. —WITH A REPORT FROM KRIXIA SUBINGSUBING INQ
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