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Drug campaign files ready, PNP just waiting for Duterte nod to share

Rambo Talabong

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Drug campaign files ready, PNP just waiting for Duterte nod to share

Angie de Silva

The Supreme Court has been asking for the documents since December 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The documents on arrests and deaths related to the drug campaign are ready for submission to the Supreme Court (SC), but President Rodrigo Duterte’s go signal is not.

“We are ready. Upon the directive of the President, if really he will direct us to submit, we are ready to submit these reports,” Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde announced on Tuesday, April 24, in a one-on-one interview with Rappler in Camp Crame.

He was referring to the documents the SC had asked to aid its deliberations over appeals to declare the PNP’s anti-illegal drugs campaign unconstitutional. (READ: Was the PNP’s war on drugs illegal? Here’s why lawyers think so)

The Supreme Court has asked the PNP to provide documentation of 3,967 deaths in supposedly legitimate police operations from July 2016 to November 2017, also other thousands of deaths under investigation from July 2016 to September 2017. 

The petitioners argued that the PNP’s guidelines were too prone to abuse to be launched immediately and relentlessly.

The PNP countered, however, that it had done its part to prevent unnecessary fatalities. It even revised its drug campaign blueprint after the SC petitions.

The High Court has been asking for the documents since December 2017. 

Until now, cops have not shared any of their records. The government initially asked for two months to submit them, but eventually just filed an appeal for them to not do so at all.

The SC had to deliberate and eventually decided to compel the administration to provide them.

Now, the newest delay is the desire of the PNP’s leadership to get the President’s approval. This is despite an earlier statement made by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra on April 4 that the Duterte administration would comply with the SC order to provide full documentation of the deaths that arose from police anti-drug operations.

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.