19 cases of drug war deaths filed in court – DOJ

MANILA, Philippines – Prosecutors nationwide have filed a total of 19 murder and homicide cases arising from the government’s ongoing war on drugs, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

Of the 19 cases filed in court, 13 are deaths from legitimate police operations, and 6 are deaths outside legitimate police operations or those carried out by vigilante groups. (READ: Independent body to probe EJKs? Not now, says Aguirre)

From July 1, 2016 to August 22, 2017, all prosecutors offices in the country handled a total of 71 murder and homicide cases related to the war on drugs according to data released by the DOJ on Friday, September 8.

Prosecutors have dismissed 35 cases, while 17 are pending investigation.

Prosecution of drug war deaths

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier said this was separate from the 50 cases being handled by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which was acting on his department order to investigate alleged summary killings by policemen.

Of these 50 cases handled by the NBI, 7 were recommended for filing before prosecutors, 4 were temporarily closed and 39 were ongoing.

The data was released amid calls by lawmakers to show proof of how the government was investigating and prosecuting alleged summary killings. According to the information Aguirre provided lawmakers in DOJ's budget hearings in Congress, there were 4,000 deaths in the war on drugs, 3,000 from legitimate police operations and 1,000 from vigilante groups. (READ: Drilon asks Aguirre: Why only 37 cases out of 4,000 killings?)

In a hearing at the Senate, however, Aguirre admitted to presenting abroad 7,000 deaths from the war on drugs, even as government agencies disputed the number. 

Detained Senator Leila de Lima accused Aguirre of instructing his prosecutors not to file cases against law enforcement officers carrying out the war on drugs. This allegation was included in a complaint De Lima filed against Aguirre before the Office of the Ombudsman on July 13. 

DOJ’s data does not include a timeline and details of the cases. Below is a copy of the data released to the media by the DOJ:

DRUG WAR DEATHS. DOJ releases data on the murder and homicide cases investigated and prosecuted by the government since the drug war began in 2016. Photo by DOJ

DRUG WAR DEATHS. DOJ releases data on the murder and homicide cases investigated and prosecuted by the government since the drug war began in 2016.

Photo by DOJ

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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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