CenterLaw, FLAG asked to comment on plea to hold disclosure of drug war records
The Supreme Court has ordered petitioners seeking to stop the government’s war on drugs to comment on the motion by government lawyers against providing full documentation of more than 3,000 deaths under President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.
The Center for International Law (CenterLaw) through lawyer Joel Butuyan on behalf of the residents of 26 barangays in San Andres Bukid, Manila City and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) led by lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno were ordered to submit their comment on the motion.
Petitioners have 10 days from notice to submit their comment.
Government lawyers, led by Solicitor General Jose Calida, said the high court’s request was “patently irrelevant to the question on constitutionality of Philippine National Police’s 16-2016 also known as “Oplan Double Barrel” and its implementing rules under the Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular No. 2017-112.
The CenterLaw petition was seeking the issuance of a writ of amparo to shield the residents of 26 barangays in San Andres Bukid, Manila City against the government’s anti-illegal drug war.
The FLAG petition, on the other hand, was seeking to declare as unconstitutional PNP’s CMC 16-2016, or “Oplan Double Barrel,” which Diokno said allowed the police to neutralize suspected drug pushers.
The group also filed the petition for the SC to issue protection orders for the relatives of three persons who ended up as victims of “extralegal killings” in the anti-drug campaign.
Diokno said that the killings of Ryan Dave Almora and Rex Aparri, and the shooting of Jefferson Soriano, are part of “extralegal killings,” thus covered by the rule on the writ of amparo.
Calida added that the pieces of information requested by the high court were “sensitive” and contained national security implications.
He said the right to information was not absolute.
“The production of documents required …involve information and other sensitive matters that in the long run will have an undeniable effect on national security: it could spell the success or failure of follow-up operations of police and other law enforcement bodies, aside from endangering the lives of those on the list as well as those already in custody,” Calida said.
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