DOJ to release info on reviewed drug war cases

Protesters and residents hold lighted candles and placards at the wake of Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old high school student, who was among the people shot dead last week in an escalation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs in Caloocan city, Metro Manila, the Philippines on August 25, 2017. © 2017 Dondi Tawatao / Reuters

THE Philippine Department of Justice has authorized the public release of information on the cases involving deaths during anti-illegal drug operations.

In a press statement, the agency announced that it recently concluded its review of 52 cases submitted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and its Internal Affairs Service involving deaths that occurred during the course of the so-called war on drugs, and has referred the same to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

“As part of the Department’s recognition of the importance of transparency in its review process — balanced with the considerations of respecting due process as the NBI’s investigation and case buildup begins — the Department hereby authorizes the release of an information table concerning certain details of the 52 cases,” the DOJ said Tuesday, October 19.

Information that will be released will include docket numbers, names of deceased suspect/s, places and dates of the incidents, and the DOJ review panel’s summary observations.

According to the DOJ, the release of case details is for the purpose of informing the families and loved ones of the deceased suspects that the circumstances surrounding each incidence of death are undergoing a determination of possible criminal liabilities on the part of erring police officers.

Another purpose is to invite witnesses or persons with first-hand information helpful to the resolution of the 52 cases to come forward and approach the NBI for the taking of their statements, if any.

For his part, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that information on the 52 cases will be published in a 20-page matrix on Wednesday, October 20.

“The President has expressly directed the DOJ and the PNP to review the conduct of the war on drugs and has publicly stated that all those who acted ‘beyond bounds’ should be held accountable for any unlawful acts or omissions,” he said.

“That is a clear signal that transparency in the drug war review will be observed,” he added. n

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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