MANILA — Preliminary findings confirm that most cases related to the conduct of anti-drug operations in the Government’s war against drugs failed to follow standard protocol. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra informs the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) how that standard protocol was not followed in many anti-narcotics operations where there had been deaths.
“Our initial and preliminary findings confirm that in many of these cases, law enforcement agents asserted that the subject of the anti-drug operations resisted arrest or attempted to draw a weapon and fight back. Yet no full examination of the weapon recovered was conducted, no verification of its ownership undertaken and no request for ballistic examination or paraffin test was pursued until its completion,” Guevarra said before the 46th Human Rights Council Session of the UNHRC Wednesday.
“In more than half of the records reviewed, the law enforcement agents involved failed to follow standard protocols pertaining to coordination with other agencies and processing of the crime scene,” he said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has been informed of the review panel’s initial findings. In turn, the PNP told them that their Internal Affairs Service (IAS) investigated thousands of these incidents and scores of police officers had been recommended for administrative and criminal action.
The review panel referred to gathered information from Bulacan, including San Jose del Monte City; Pampanga, including Angeles City; Cavite, including Bacoor City, and parts of the National Capital Region (NCR).
A functioning legal system
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says that Guevarra’s admission before the UNHRC only demonstrates the legal system still works.
“That proves that our domestic legal system is working and there is no need for other institutions to intervene. Let us give our legal system a chance to function since we have transparency and open-mindedness on the part of no less than our secretary of justice,” Roque said.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes Guevarra’s statements and calls for the release of the panel’s full report.
“We appreciate that the Secretary of Justice declared that they will cooperate with us and committed to include us in the case buildup and evidence gathering in order to bridge victims of human rights violations with government,” says the CHR.
The UN Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council holds three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least ten weeks. These meetings take place in March (four weeks), June (three weeks) and September (three weeks).
If one third of the Member States requests so, the Human Rights Council can decide at any time to hold a special session to address human rights violations and emergencies. (JSM/JuanManila)