Police insist: War on drugs is constitutional


THE Philippine National Police (PNP) maintained on Thursday, April 12, that its anti-illegal drugs operations are "constitutional and legal" amid the claim of the Supreme Court (SC) that the killing of suspected drug personalities may have been state-sponsored.

The court noted that the administration declared the killings, over 20,000 as reported by the police, as among its accomplishments in 2017.

“We maintain that the PNP campaign against illegal drugs is constitutional, legal and is implemented in the interest of public safety. All allegations are part of the healthy democracy that the country has,” said PNP spokesperson John Bulalacao said.

“The presumption of regularity remains with the law enforcers and unless proven otherwise in the court of law,” he added.

To prove the constitutionality of the PNP’s operational plan Tokhang and Double Barrel, which form part of the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs, the SC asked the PNP to submit several documents pertaining to the war on drugs including the personal information of those who were killed, how they were killed and the information on the police officers involved in the said operations.

Other documents also included pre- and post operational plan of each anti-illegal drugs operation and the names of the media, non-government organization of barangay officials present during the operations.

PNP’s legal counsel on the matter, Solicitor General Jose Calida, has filed a motion for reconsideration on the SC’s order saying that submission of drug war reports will compromise the government’s war on drugs as well as the security of the PNP personnel involved in the operations.

The SC denied Calida’s motion and compelled the PNP to submit such documents.

"The government's inclusion of these deaths among its other accomplishments may lead to the inference that these are state-sponsored killings," the SC said in a resolution released on Tuesday, April 10.

The SC adopted the administration’s 2017 year-end report where they boasted the killing of a total of 3,967 drug personalities during the conduct of anti-illegal drugs operations from July 2016 to November 27, 2017 while 16,355 homicide cases are still under investigation.

"This is a total of 20,322 deaths during the Duterte administration's anti-drug war from July 1, 2016 to November 27, 2017, or an average of 39.46 deaths every day," the SC said.

“This Court wants to know why so many deaths happened," it added.

Bulalacao, however, said that the emphasis should not only be on the almost 4,000 deaths in police operations but also on the more than 1.3 million drug personalities who surrendered to the government, the over 120,000 others who were arrested and the number of law enforcers who have died during these police operations.

“If the claims on EJK (extrajudicial killings) are true, then these surrenderers and arrested suspects should not be alive as well,” he said.

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa earlier maintained that the slain suspects tried to fight back, prompting the authorities to shoot them. (SunStar Philippines)
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