The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has agreed to further probe and conduct a case build-up on the possible criminal culpability of 154 policemen involved in anti-illegal drug operations where deaths of suspects occurred.
This came after the Department of Justice met with NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor on Tuesday purportedly to brief the NBI about the DOJ review panel’s findings on the 52 cases turned over by the Philippine National Police.
In a text message, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said “The NBI readily accepted the responsibility and undertook to buckle down to work immediately, using the 52 PNP case files as starting point,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra also said “it was also agreed that the NBI and the PNP would establish a mechanism to conduct joint investigations of so-called ‘nanlaban’ cases in the future,” Guevarra added.
According to the DOJ chief, the CHR will be engaged as the need arises, especially in the matter of coordinating with the victims’ families and their witnesses.
Guevarra said the NBI and the PNP will draft a formal agreement allowing them to conduct collaborative efforts of investigating so-called “nanlaban” cases.
The Spanish government meanwhile asked the DOJ to ensure that justice is served to its citizen Diego Lapuente who was killed during an illegal drugs operation conducted by the police in Siargao Islands on January 8, 2020.
Guevarra said that the ambassador of Spain in the Philippines went to see him twice about the case of Lapuende “which had caught public attention in Spain.”
Last September 17, a murder charge was filed with the DOJ against policemen of the General Luna Municipal Police Station. This is one of the 52 cases turned over to the DOJ.
Further, House of Representatives Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Isagani Zarate called on the DOJ not to limit the filing of charges to the 154 policemen.
“Why limit the filing of cases to 52 killings of drug suspects only when the PNP itself admitted that there were more or less 6,000 more drug suspects who were killed since July 1, 2016 in this bloody drug war?” Zarate, the nominee of the party-list group Bayan Muna, asked.
According to Zarate, the number of cases filed by the DOJ constitutes barely 0.9 percent of the total deaths; this, “even if we use the official figure admitted by the PNP.” With Maricel V. Cruz