CHR to PDEA: Go for long-term fix vs drugs, don’t just release names

Rambo Talabong
'Tungkulin ng [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency] na maghanap ng long-term, sustainable solution... imbis na maglabas ng mga pangalan na kapos sa ebidensya,' says the Commission on Human Rights

DRUG LIST OUT. The government releases a list of barangay officials allegedly involved in drugs, during a press conference at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency headquarters in Quezon City on April 30, 2018. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Releasing names is a short-term and dangerous solution to the Philippine drug menace.

This was the message of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday, April 30, to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), after the latter published a list of hundreds of barangay officials allegedly involved in the drug trade. (READ: PDEA drugs list: Barangay officials linked to illegal drugs)

“Tungkulin ng PDEA na maghanap ng long-term, sustainable solution na magpapanagot sa may mga sala, imbis na maglabas ng mga pangalan na kapos sa ebidensya na puwedeng ikasira ng dangal at buhay ng mga akusado kung hindi mapatunayan,” the CHR said in a statement

(It is the duty of the PDEA to look for a long-term, sustainable solution that will hold perpetrators accountable, instead of releasing names with insufficient evidence which could destroy the dignity and life of the accused if not proven.)

 

The constitutional body was referring to the PDEA’s decision to release the controversial list despite admitting that it isn’t ready to defend its allegations before legitimate courts. (READ: PDEA admits cases vs officials in drug list ‘not airtight’)

“Bilang law enforcement agency, tungkulin ng PDEA na usisain ang bawat nasa listahan, kumalap ng ebidensya, at magsampa ng karampatang kaso sa mga hukuman,” the CHR said.

(As a law enforcement agency, it is the duty of the PDEA to scrutinize each name on the list, gather evidence, and file the proper cases before the courts.)

According to PDEA chief Director General Aaron Aquino, however, they validated all the names on their list through the government’s intelligence operatives. What they don’t have right now are material evidence to substantiate information from intelligence reports.

The list was formed and validated by 4 agencies – the PDEA, the Philippine National Police, the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. – Rappler.com

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.