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Guevarra admits lapses in drug ops

The justice chief said the issues surrounding the all-out war against drug are considered internal matters, which are being addressed more than adequately by our national institutions and authorities

Alvin Murcia

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has confirmed before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that there had been violations in the protocols on coordination and processing of the crime scenes by some police operatives in the conduct of their past anti-drug operations.

In the Philippine Statement at the high-level segment of the 46th Human Rights Council Session, Guevarra told participants that these were the findings from the re-examination of cases conducted by the Inter-Agency Review Panel on the anti-illegal drug operations where deaths occurred.

Guevarra, however, reiterated the government’s rejection of international groups to assume jurisdiction over the investigation of the highly-criticized anti-illegal drug campaign of the Duterte administration.

The justice chief said the issues surrounding the all-out war against drugs are considered internal matters, “which are being addressed more than adequately by our national institutions and authorities.”

“In closing, the Philippines strongly emphasizes that its legal and judicial system and domestic accountability mechanisms are functioning as they should,” he said.

Guevarra announced in June last year the creation of the panel following reports of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings in the government’s all-out war against illegal drugs.

“Our initial and preliminary findings confirm that in many of these cases, law enforcement agents asserted that the subject of the anti-drug operations resisted arrest or attempted to draw a weapon and fight back,” Guevarra noted.

“Yet no full examinations of the weapon recovered were conducted, no verification of its ownership undertaken, and no request for ballistic examination or paraffin test were pursued until completion,” he added.

He added that during the examination of “more than half of the records reviewed, the law enforcement agents involved failed to follow standard protocols pertaining to coordination with other agencies and processing of the crime scene.”

Guevarra said the panel’s findings have been referred to the Philippine National Police.

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