The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has granted an inter-agency panel access to 107 case files of anti-drug operations by law enforcement authorities that resulted in the deaths of suspects, Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.
Guevarra stressed that the 107 cases are separate from the 52 cases that the DOJ-led panel has gained access from the Philippine National Police.
The 52 cases involved findings by the PNP-Internal Affairs Service of administrative liabilities on the conduct of police officers in anti-drug operations.
“Just this week, the department just received 107 case files from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for review,” Guevarra told the UN Joint Program on Human Rights in a video statement uploaded Sunday night.
Guevarra said the video statement was meant to be an update on the work of the review panel and on the status of the UN-Philippines Joint Program (UNJP) on Technical Cooperation on Human Rights.
“As the panel reviews these records, it also closely monitors the preliminary investigation and prosecution of 87 criminal cases lodged against more than a hundred law enforcement personnel arising from alleged misconduct or unlawful conduct in the anti-drug operations,” he said.
Justice Usec. Adrian Sugay said the PDEA case files covered the period from July 2016 to June 2020.
“We are still going through the PDEA’s records. There were casualties. And this is the reason for the review,” Sugay said, adding that PDEA is part of the original review panel.
Guevarra previously said the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have been hesitant in sharing their files due to concerns they might be held liable for violation of the Data Privacy Act.
He described the submission of the case files from the PNP and the PDEA and the monitoring of the investigation and prosecution of erring cops as a “significant progress.”
“These important developments are but some of our government’s tangible and progressive steps in the implementation of a national anti-illegal drugs campaign that is consistent with our international commitments to various humanitarian instruments,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra also said the government and the UN Resident Coordinator are currently at “advanced stages” of concluding the UNJP.
The DOJ chief said discussions on the program document outlining the objectives, targets, and strategies were already completed on May 31.
The technical cooperation on human rights is an off-shoot of a UN Human Rights Council resolution last year regarding the human rights situation in the country amid the violent anti-illegal drugs campaign.