Palace respects SolGen's move to withhold drug war records | SunStar

Palace respects SolGen's move to withhold drug war records

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Palace respects SolGen's move to withhold drug war records

Saturday, January 13, 2018

MALACAÑANG on Saturday said it respects Solicitor General (SolGen) Jose Calida's decision not to submit to Supreme Court a copy of pertinent documents on the deaths of some 3,806 individuals in the legitimate police anti-drug operations.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the executive department defers to Office of Solicitor General on the issue of not complying with the high court's order to furnish it a report on the drug-related deaths.

"The Solicitor General is the statutory council of the republic. We respect decision of the SolGen in this regard, as in fact, we respect the SolGen's position on legal matters that it is defending the republic, pending in any courts," Roque told reporters in Cebu City.

"So we defer to the decision of the Solicitor General, our counsel," he added.

The Supreme Court on December 5, 2017 directed the government to release documents that contain relevant information concerning the Philippine National Police's (PNP) crackdown on illegal drugs.

The high court asked the executive branch, through its legal counsel Calida, to provide details, specifically about the identities of slain individuals, conduct of anti-narcotics operations, and names of responding police officers, among others.

Calida, in a motion for reconsideration dated December 18, has refused to comply with the Supreme Court's order, saying that the Duterte administration cannot disclose "sensitive information that have national security implications."

"It could spell the success or failure of follow-up operations of polie and other law enforcement bodies, aside from endangering the lives of those on the list as well as those already in custody," he said in his motion submitted to Supreme Court on Thursday, January 12.

"Moreover, their submission would not only compromise ongoing police anti-drug operations but likewise put at risk the lives of informants who provide such information," he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte's order to the PNP to intensify campaign against illegal drugs has earned public scrutiny following the deaths of thousands of suspected drug offenders in the country.

The PNP's drug war has sparked outrage after Caloocan policemen gunned down two minors, 17-year-old Kian Lloyd delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, in a separate drug raids conducted in August 2017.

This has prompted Duterte to strip the policemen of its role in the anti-drug operations and delegate the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the lead agency to handle the drug menace.

But in December last year, the President once again allowed the PNP to have an "active participation" in bloody war on illicit drugs trade.

On Friday, January 13, PNP chief Director Ronald dela Rosa vowed to have a "bloodless" drug war as the policemen relaunch its controversial anti-drug campaign this month.

Roque said the government trusts the PNP to live up to its promise.

"Well, [the] PNP has said so. [The] PNP, if it does to revive Tokhang, would be under the over-all direction of the PDEA that continues to have the lead," he said.

The presidential spokesperson was also expecting that the rogue cops would stop their wrongdoings after the President doubled their salaries.

"The President raised the base pay of the soldiers and policemen because he gives importance to their role, and at the same time, he knows that there are many policemen who are into extortion and perhaps, would be decent [following the salary increase]," Roque said.

"Now that they have a decent salary, our men in uniform would not be more professional, although they are already very professional. But to the erring [cops], the message is you have to change because you already have the government's support," he added. (SunStar Philippines)

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