MANILA, Philippines – Solicitor General Jose Calida is adamant that the government does not need to provide the Supreme Court full documentation of the over 3,000 deaths that resulted from legitimate police operations in the war on drugs.
“Remember this is a case to challenge the constitutionality of the circulars of the PNP and DILG, you don’t have to look for victims to determine whether or not the circulars are constitutional or not,” Calida said on Tuesday, January 16.
Calida was at the Supreme Court to attend the oral arguments on the petitions against martial law re-extension in Mindanao.
“Besides, the two cases refer to certain alleged extrajudicial killing (EJK) in Baguio and in San Andres, Bukid, now why ask for the entire record of the Philippines?” Calida said.
It was Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who asked Calida for full documentation during the oral arguments on petitions seeking to declare the drug war circulars unconstitutional.
Included in the SC order are drug watchlists, list of warrantless arrests, or copies of the warrants of arrest, pre and post operation reports where death is involved, as well as documents related to the petitions including alleged police-led executions of 35 people in San Andres Bukid in Manila.
“The records must be there because these are supposedly legitimate police operations. On the deaths under investigation, you must have the names, give me, submit the names, addresses, ages and gender, you must know them because you’re investigating them,” Carpio said then
Although he verbally agreed to Carpio’s order at the time, Calida eventually filed a motion for reconsideration saying the documents the SC is asking for have national security implications.
One of the petitioners, the Center for International Law (CenterLaw), said it just shows that the government is hiding something.
“I’m not hiding anything, we’re just following the rule of law,” Calida said.
Calida, in his motion, said the petitions only cover the cases in San Andres Bukid, in Baguio and one in Quezon City.
Asked whether he will submit police documents related to those cases, Calida said: “Well, we will assess that, because we have also our legal arguments.”
The SC en banc has ordered the petitioners to respond to Calida’s motion.
The order would put to test the government’s claim that it is investigating each one of drug war-related death.