MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of drug campaign documents stood stacked in balikbayan boxes inside Camp Crame on Monday, May 21 as the Philippine National Police (PNP) poises itself to submit the files to the Supreme Court (SC).
The documents, a source said, were hauled to the police headquarters for the Director for Operations to collate them. After this, the papers will be loaded to the Office of the Solicitor General for “screening.” After they are sieved, the files will finally be brought to the High Court.
Shown the photos by Rappler, PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao said the boxes were stuffed with drug documents requested by the SC from across the country, from Region I to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
To recall, the Supreme Court had asked the PNP to submit the files as they deliberate on the constitutionality of the government's anti-drug campaign. (READ: Was the PNP’s war on drugs illegal? Here’s why lawyers think so)
Sloppy storage? The documents, repeatedly touted by the PNP as confidential, were left hoarded along the national police headquarter’s corridors, some stacked up sloppily, deforming their carton containers.
Some boxes, meanwhile, appeared to be crammed more carefully, complete with plastic covers and packaging tapes forming borders imitating yellow tapes in crime scenes.
Bulalacao defended how the documents were stocked just in the walkways. According to the spokesman, policemen have been assigned to guard them around the clock until they are brought to the OSG.
“There are guards on the top floor and the ground floor,” Bulalacao told Rappler. “They are safely kept.”
There were no guards patrolling the area when Rappler was given access to shoot the boxes, however.
Here are photos of the files, requested since December 2017 by the High Court. They are expected to be submitted to the SC around June 2018 after the OSG asked for a two-month extension just late April for their compliance:
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.