DOJ report on 52 drug war deaths to ‘belie claims’ of Duterte involvement — Roque
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) report on the 52 drug war deaths “will belie all claims” that President Rodrigo Duterte is “responsible under the principle of command responsibility” for the killings, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Wednesday.
“The most important element of culpability by reason of command responsibility is that a person knew that crimes were being committed and did not do anything to prevent these crimes from being committed or did not do anything to investigate and punish the perpetrators thereof,” Roque said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.
“I think these findings of the DOJ will belie all claims that the president is responsible under the principle of command responsibility because on the contrary it proves that the Philippine state has in fact investigated and prosecuted individuals for these extralegal killings,” he further explained.
Roque also lauded the DOJ for their findings as this presents that the government is doing its obligation to protect the right to life.
“Number one, I commend the DOJ because it shows that the state is fulfilling its obligation to protect and promote the right to life because the state obligation whenever there is a violation to the right to life, is to accord the victims domestic remedy, an effective domestic remedy. And this can be done through the filing of cases to ensure that guilty individuals will be prosecuted and punished for the acts,” Roque said.
“Number two, I don’t think it says anything about the culpability of the president because in the 52 cases, there’s not been an instance where this been a determination that the president ordered the killing or that the president did not do anything to punish those who committed criminal acts,” he added.
“On the contrary, the filing of the cases against these individuals prove that the president is in discharge of his obligation as chief implementer of the law because he has caused the filing of cases against them,” the spokesman went on.
Moreover, Roque said that witnesses could be provided with protection, if deemed necessary.
“That’s the call of the DOJ because we have allotted public funds to run and implement the Witness Protection Program. So, yes, they can be accorded protection, if there is a need for this protection,” he said.
To recall, the International Criminal Court pre-trial chamber has approved the start of investigation into crimes against humanity cases lodged against Duterte in relation with the drug war killings.
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