Monday July 23, 2018

Palace insists protocols observed in anti-drug operations

MALACAÑANG on Wednesday maintained that police officers are complying with the protocols laid for the conduct of anti-drug operations.

"Authorities follow protocols and procedures during the conduct of police operations," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella's statement came after a mandamus petition was filed before Supreme Court, seeking to direct concerned agencies to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte's war against rampant narcotics trade.

The petitioners led by lawyer Evalyn Ursua filed a petition dated September 22 for a writ of continuing mandamus, urging the high court to compel heads of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to impose measures that would prevent unlawful killings.

In the petition, respondents -- PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, and CHR chairpersons Jose Luis Martin Gascon -- allegedly failed to perform their constitutional duty to protect the right to life and prosecute perpetrators of drug-related deaths.

"Respondents should be directed, through a writ of continuing mandamus, to perform their duties under the law, to take adequate appropriate measures, and to report to the Honorable Court on the actions and measures taken," the petition read.

"Public interest would be served by compelling prompt, thorough, impartial, independent, and transparent official inquiry into the trail of death, reportedly related to the government's anti-illegal drug operations. Respondents must be called upon to perform their duties of conducting investigations and prosecuting the perpetrators of killings if warranted," it added.

Abella said concerned agencies, such as the DOJ and the PNP, welcome the petition filed at the high court.

The presidential spokesperson likewise said that detailed information about the supposed drug killings could not yet be made public since investigations are still underway.

"Drug-related killings form part of cases under investigation by the police, alongside murder and homicide cases," he said.

"The public is given access to the results of the investigation; however, specific details on ongoing investigations are only released when these details will not compromise the investigation, follow-up operations, and other related activities," he added. (SunStar Philippines)