Thursday, April 5, 2018

CHR to PNP: Cooperate on probe of deaths linked to war on drugs

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday reminded the Philippine National Police (PNP) to cooperate in its probe of cases related to the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs as it intends to show the International Criminal Court (ICC) its investigation ability.

CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline De Guia said that with the PNP’s cooperation, there would no longer be a need for international mechanisms, such as the ICC, to intervene in the country’s ongoing human rights crisis.
“If they are open and transparent and cooperate with agencies such as the CHR, it would aptly demonstrate that the Philippine government is willing and able to investigate all cases and therefore it will emphasize that there is no more need for interventions such as international bodies coming in,” De Guia told reporters at the sidelines of a forum in Quezon City.

De Guia was apparently referring to the principle of complementarity, which means that the ICC can only investigate and prosecute international crimes when domestic courts are “unable or unwilling” to genuinely do so.

“That is long time been our clamor to the government to cooperate, to be open and transparent so that these mechanisms will no longer have to intervene,” she said.

The ICC in February launched a preliminary examination on President Rodrigo Duterte and his   campaign against illegal drugs. The preliminary examination is an initial step to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation

The President later declared the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC.

De Guia lamented that the PNP still has to live up to its promise to provide the CHR the reports
of all killings linked to the anti-drug campaign.

PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa vowed in August last year to give the CHR access to case files, but in December, the PNP said the CHR could only access spot reports to ensure that no investigative protocols and laws are violated.

The CHR, she said, last communicated with the PNP in December about the matter.

According to De Guia, the CHR is currently handling around 1,100 cases of killings involving 1,300 cases linked to police operations and vigilante squads.
Of these, 47 cases and complaints were filed before the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman and with various courts.

De Guia said that the Supreme Court’s order for the PNP to submit all case files on the thousands of killings linked to the war on drugs would indeed help the CHR in its own investigation.