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DoJ assures drug war victims justice

He made the call after reports of the families’ distrust of the sincerity of the government to give them justice

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Victims and families of those who died in the government’s war on drugs conducted by law enforcers can file complaints directly before the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said: “I encourage the victims’ families to go directly to the DoJ and file complaints directly with us. If they need legal assistance, we will refer them to PAO (Public Attorney’s Office).”

He made the call after reports of the families’ “distrust” of the sincerity of the government to give them justice.

“If the victims and families of those who died need security protection, we will cover them under WPP (Witness Protection Program) and the DoJ will take it from there,” he assured.

Earlier, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan announced the suspension of the investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed during the Philippine government’s war against illegal drugs.

The suspension of the ICC investigation came after it received a letter from Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya who sought a deferment of the proceedings since the Philippine government has already taken action, including the probe on the 52 cases being reviewed by the DoJ.

A number of groups, including the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), have appealed for the ICC to resume the investigation.

“The actions taken by the ICC during the last few months had given them the faint glimmer of hope,” said the NUPL, the legal counsel of the group Rise Up for Rights and for Life which sought the ICC probe.

The DoJ investigation of the 52 cases of deaths in illegal drugs operations, FLAG said “covers only a fraction of the killings or attempted killings which occurred within the scope of the ICC investigation.”

They also said that of the 52 cases allegedly investigated by the DoJ, only 36 occurred between 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019, and the period covered by the ICC investigation.

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