Drug war documents submitted to Supreme Court 'rubbish'

MANILA, Philippines – Law group Center for International Law (CenterLaw) described as "rubbish" the bulk of drug war documents that the Duterte govenment submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) as part of its examination on the constitutionality of the war on drugs.

CenterLaw and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), as petitioners, were authorized in April to be furnished copies of documents related to 20,322 deaths in police operations against drugs.

CenterLaw said that 90.01% of the solved cases submitted by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are not drug-related; and 55.80% of the unsolved cases are also not drug-related.

CenterLaw has examined only 1,792 death files so far.

"In other words, only 9.99% of the solved cases are 'possibly drug-related' and only 44.20% of the unsolved cases are 'possibly drug-related' deaths," CenterLaw said in a motion submitted to the SC on Monday, September 23.

CenterLaw wants to cite the OSG and the PNP in contempt.

'Rubbish'

"What the OSG and PNP virtually want is for the Supreme Court and the petitioners to utterly waste valuable time and resources examining case files which are totally irrelevant and, in fact, absolutely rubbish insofar as the instant cases are concerned," the CenterLaw said.

The documents are crucial in the SC's assessment of whether the police is conducting the war on drugs in a legal manner – that is, properly documented, with complete pre-operation and post-operation reports.

The SC challenged the government to prove that the police reports exist, or else, it said, the high killings may lead the Court to believe that "these are state-sponsored killings."

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the member-in-charge, retires on October 26.

Carpio had compelled the submission of documents as early as December 2017, but Solicitor General Jose Calida managed to delay it through strings of pleadings. Carpio, getting unanimous votes, made the order final in April this year.

"The OSG and PNP have displayed a lack of intention to obey the processes of this Honorable Court," said CenterLaw, adding that "the misrepresentation on and submission of irrelevant documents to the Supreme Court by the OSG and PNP constitute direct contempt of court."

Admit lack of documentation

CenterLaw petitioned the SC to direct the government once more to submit a list of inventory of each case file.

Should they fail to do so, CenterLaw said the SC must treat the non-submission as automatic admission that the police operations which killed nearly 3,967 drug suspects from July 1, 2016 to November 27, 2017, "did not comply with the documentary and investigation requirements" of both the PNP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

And similarly, that the 16,355 drug personalities who died, not necessarily in police operations, were not investigated and documented as required by pertinent laws.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently examining whether it has jurisdiction over the high number of killings in the campaign.

It will have jurisdiction if the ICC determines that Philippine authorities are unable or unwilling to solve the killings. (READ: Duterte gov't allows 'drug war' deaths to go unsolved). – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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