Cops violated rules of engagement in drug war, DoJ chief tells UN

JUSTICE SECRETARY MENARDO I. GUEVARRA — PCOO.GOV.PH

MORE THAN half of thousands of police anti-drug operations under President Rodrigo R. Duterte violated rules of engagement, Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra told the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

Police claimed suspected drug pushers were killed after they resisted arrest, he said in a video message at the seventh meeting of the council’s 46th regular session.

“Yet, no full examination of the weapon recovered was conducted,” he said, citing the initial results of a government investigation. “No verification of its ownership was undertaken. No request for ballistic examination or paraffin test was pursued until its completion,” he added.

Mr. Guevarra said the government rejects any attempts by the international community to meddle in Philippine affairs.

“We reject any attempt by any external entity to assume jurisdiction over internal matters which are being addressed more than adequately by our national institutions and authorities,” he said.

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The Justice chief also urged the UN council to use “dialogue and cooperation as it carries out its important mandate and noble duty to the community of nations.”

Mr. Guevarra said his office had referred the findings to the Philippine National Police, which has conducted its own probe of thousands of drug-related incidents. A number of policemen had been recommended to be charged criminally and administratively, he added.

“It is now the immediate task of the review panel to ensure that these recommendations have been acted upon and carried out by the proper disciplinary authorities, and that measures are adopted to avoid loss of lives during legitimate law enforcement operations against illegal drugs,” he said. — Bianca Angelica D. Anago

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