Palace denies gov’t too soft on cops involved in drug deaths; raps will be filed
MANILA, Philippines — The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is “not soft” on law enforcers as charges would be filed against policemen involved in the 52 drug war cases now being reviewed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
During Thursday’s Palace briefing, Roque was asked to respond to rights advocates’ observations that the DOJ findings show that the administration has been soft on policemen.
“On the contrary po ‘no, ‘yung decision ng DOJ proves na we are not soft kasi nga po kakasuhan ‘yung 52. ‘Yan po ang ibig sabihin nung sinabi ni Secretary Guevarra na ni-refer nila for NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] for case building. Syempre po, kung kakasuhan, dapat matibay ang ebidensya,” Roque said.
(On the contrary, the DOJ decision proves that we are not soft because cases will be filed against policemen involved in the 52 cases. That was what Secretary [Menardo] Guevarra meant when he said they referred to the NBI for case building. Of course, if they will be charged, the evidence has to be strong.)
Roque was also questioned if the government sees a systematic problem after the DOJ found many police in the cases were cleared of administrative liability despite the use of force in the drug war campaign.
Roque answered: “Well, ‘yan naman po ang obligasyon ng estado — imbestigahan ang mga kaso na nagkaroon ng paglabag sa karapatang mabuhay.”
(Well, that is the obligation of the state — to investigate cases that had violations to the right to life.)
“At itong findings ng DOJ po na binabaliktad ang earlier finding ng internal affairs ng PNP [Philippine National Police] ay patunay po na tayo po ay ginagampanan ang ating obligasyon na protektahan ang karapatan ng mabuhay dahil tayo po ay nag-i-imbestiga, maglilitis, at nagpaparusa po ng mga pumapatay,” he added.
(The DOJ’s findings, which countered the PNP’s internal affairs’ earlier finding, proves that we are fulfilling our obligation to protect the right to live because we are investigating, examining, and punishing those who kill.)
On Wednesday, the DOJ released its report which shattered the police’s narrative of “nanlaban” which means the victims tried to fight them back.