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PNP assures public of transparency to dispel fears about drug war

/ 07:09 PM September 16, 2021
The Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership has assured the public that efforts toward transparency, especially on the issue of war against illegal drugs, are being implemented to erase any doubts about supposed human-rights abuses.

PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. Image from PNP

MANILA, Philippines —  The Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership has assured the public that efforts toward transparency, especially on the issue of war against illegal drugs, are being implemented to erase any doubts about supposed human-rights abuses.

PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar reminded people on Thursday that the PNP already opened up their files for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to scrutinize, as the department is doing a review of police anti-drug operations that led to the deaths of suspects.

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“The [PNP] has taken the initiative of directly confronting allegations of human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings in our aggressive campaign against illegal drugs,” Eleazar said.

“In May this year, we strengthened our coordination and cooperation with the Department of Justice for the review of our illegal drugs operations, particularly those which we deemed to have violated our Police Operational Procedures and including those which resulted in deaths and injuries of the subjects of the operations. At least 53 case folders have already been turned over to the DOJ for further review and possible prosecution,” he added.

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Aside from that, Eleazar said that all ground commanders have been instructed to submit after-operation reports of anti-drug stings immediately so that the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service can review the incidents and identify whether there were wrongdoings on the part of the police.

All of these efforts, he said, are part of the PNP’s desire to clean its name after being accused numerous times of perpetrating extrajudicial killings (EJKs) or other human rights abuses in the conduct of the drug war.

“These are all part of our efforts to strengthen transparency and accountability in the conduct of our operations amid various allegations that have been hounding the police organization in the last five years,” Eleazar said.

“Kami man sa PNP ay gustong matapos na ang lahat ng pagdududa at mga alegasyong ito dahil ang buong organisasyon na ang nadadamay dito,” he added.

(Even we in the PNP want to end these doubts and allegations because the whole organization is being affected here.)

It was not mentioned why Eleazar issued such a statement, but on Wednesday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-trial chamber has approved former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request for a judicial authority to proceed with a probe on the Philippines’ human rights state.

READ: ICC pre-trial chamber authorizes start of probe into Duterte’s drug war 

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The probe centers on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, as he is accused of committing the crime against humanity after the campaign turned bloody.  In Bensouda’s request last June 14, she said that there was sufficient reason to believe that state actors have killed thousands of civilians under the war against illegal drugs

PNP is the primary implementer of President Duterte’s drug war.

As of July 2021, there are 6,165 drug suspects killed in legitimate anti-drug operations conducted by both the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

READ: Drug war death toll now at 6,165; arrested suspects at 298,348 — PDEA 

Aside from the ICC probe, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also admitted earlier, during the budget deliberations before the House of Representatives committee on appropriations, that they are finding it hard to secure full cooperation from law enforcement agencies PNP, when it comes to investigating alleged abuses.

According to CHR Chairperson Jose Luis Gascon, the CHR has asked for full access of files regarding drug war deaths four years ago, but it still has not happened.  However, he also noted that the cooperation between PNP and DOJ can be considered as “baby steps” in the search for accountability.

READ: CHR receives limited cooperation from PNP, law enforcers – chair 

For Eleazar’s part, he maintained that the PNP has never covered up abuses done by officers within its ranks, proof of which is his intensified internal cleansing program.

Still, despite rumors of abuses, the PNP chief insisted that the drug war has been a good deterrent of crimes — hence it should continue.

“As what we have been saying and in fact, have repeatedly proven to our kababayan, the Philippine National Police neither condone nor cover up abuses and other forms of wrongdoings in our ranks,” Eleazar said.

“Our aggressive campaign against illegal drugs will continue because as our data would show, these operations have contributed a lot in the unprecedented 64 percent reduction of index crime in the last five years—a validation of our analysis before that most criminal incidents in the country are related to illegal drugs abuse,” he added.

JPV

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TAGS:  PNP, CHR, Commission on Human Rights, Department of Justice, Drug war, drug war probe, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, ICC, International Criminal Court, Phil‎ippine National Police, Philippine news updates
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