CHR: Release of drug war documents important for accountability

SEEKING JUSTICE. The drug war documents will be useful in investigations into the killings. File photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

SEEKING JUSTICE. The drug war documents will be useful in investigations into the killings.

File photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday, April 3, welcomed the Supreme Court (SC) decision ordering the release of documents on the bloody anti-drug campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said this decision will aid investigations into the thousands of killings under the Duterte administration.

Since 2016, authorities have repeatedly denied the commission's request for case folders in relation to the "war on drugs." (READ: Duterte gov't allows 'drug war' deaths to go unsolved)

"It is only through greater transparency that we can ascertain the truth behind the circumstances leading to these killings and possibly make every perpetrator accountable for their offenses against the right to life, among others," De Guia said.

The SC on Tuesday, April 2, ordered the Office of the Solicitor General to hand over documents on the anti-drug campaign to the petitioners – the Free Legal Assistance Group and the Center for International Law.

The CHR sees this order as "a reminder to the government to observe the rule of law in the face of rising human rights violations that abound."

"We then urge the government to ensure that its policies will always safeguard the general welfare of people, and not only of a select few, in keeping with its obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of all," De Guia said.

Duterte's anti-drug campaign has led to the deaths of more than 5,000 people in police operations. Human rights groups peg the number at more than 20,000, including victims of vigilante killings. (READ: The Impunity Series)

The International Criminal Court is conducting a preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines. This move prompted Duterte to withdraw the Philippines as a member-state of the court. (READ: Duterte throws out decade-long fight for the International Criminal Court– Rappler.com

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.

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