MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) appealed the Supreme Court (SC) order for the turnover of drug war documents to protect the lives of cops, their chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday, January 22.
"Dahil binangga mo ang napakalaking sindikato ng droga. Alam mo na ang pagdisclose ng mga pangalan, hindi lang ma-e-endanger ang buhay mo, [kundi pati] pamilya mo," Dela Rosa told reporters in a press briefing.
(Because they stood up to big drug syndicates. You know that disclosing their names will endanger not just them but also their families)
"Once you give [it to] them, that is public already, so anybody can have access to that information," Dela Rosa added.
This comes after Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a Motion for Reconsideration on the request of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice (SAJ) Antonio Carpio for the PNP to disclose documents related to the almost 4,000 deaths from police anti-drug operations. (READ: Was the PNP’s war on drugs illegal? Here’s why lawyers think so)
The top cop said the lives of the policemen are what Calida was referring to when he said the documents would bring "national security implications."
Among the documents SAJ Carpio had asked for were the names of the PNP team leaders and members who participated in operations. Once the lists are entered as public documents, Dela Rosa said, police will become easy targets for criminals who want to get back at them.
Asked if the PNP is open to sharing the documents if they will be kept confidential, Dela Rosa said he would want to talk to the Supreme Court in private first before he would considering that option.
SC's Carpio asked for the documents as the PNP continues to defend its drug war guidelines before the High Court. (HIGHLIGHTS: What was discussed in SC oral arguments on drug war?)
Petitioners sought that the PNP's Oplan Double Barrel (Oplan High-Value Target and Oplan Tokhang) be declared unconstitutional as its guidelines have supposedly allowed abuse.
The SC also asked for drug watchlists, list of warrantless arrests, or copies of the warrants of arrest, pre and post operation reports with deaths, and documents related to the petitions including alleged police-led executions of 35 people in San Andres Bukid in Manila. – Rappler.com
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.