PHILIPPINE National Police chief (PNP), General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Thursday said that they have found possible administrative lapses committed by some members of the force in at least 61 anti-narcotics operations since the PNP started waging a war on drugs on orders of President Duterte since July 1, 2016.
“These 61 cases were mentioned by the Inspector General of the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) during our meeting with Secretary of Justice Menardo I. Guevarra. The PNP-IAS found lapses in those operations prompting them to file administrative charges against the involved policemen,” the top cop told the Journal Group without mentioning any particulars on the 61 cases.
Eleazar also emphasized that it was President Duterte who instructed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review these cases. “The DOJ has been coordinating with us and we have to support their investigation of all cases conducted by the police which resulted in the death of suspects,” he said.
The PNP chief said the PNP-IAS since 2016 has been conducting ‘motu-proprio’ investigation into police operations wherein suspects were killed although those probes rely on evidence on hand and the presence of witnesses.
The PNP chief, joined by the PNP-IAS chief, lawyer Alfegar Triambulo and the head of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, had a meeting with Guevarra to thresh out matters regarding the presidential directive to investigate the killing of suspects in anti-narcotics operations.
“It was the President who gave his instruction to the SOJ so we have to support that,” he said as he vowed to provide records of the investigation conducted on the 61 cases.
“It’s up to the DOJ. But we are giving our full support and coordination in reviewing these cases to show the public that we are not hiding anything, kasi kung puro allegations lang, unfair naman sa PNP,” he said.
According to the PNP chief, they are to provide the DOJ with the records of the investigation including the result of the paraffin and ballistics tests conducted. He added that it will be up to the DOJ to share to the Commission on Human Rights those records.
Eleazar became the 1st PNP chief under the Duterte administration to order the release of their investigation records to the DOJ saying they are really serious in partnering with the DOJ’s effort to come up with the truth of alleged EJKs or ‘extra-judicial killings’ by members of the police as a result of the Duterte government’s vaunted war on drugs since 2016.
In fact, he said the PNP and the DOJ are set to sign an agreement pertaining to police cooperation in the department’s probe of so-called EJKs.
He said that the agreement “intends to convey our sincere intention to cooperate in the investigation of so-called extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs.”
Eleazar said that during his meeting with Guevarra Friday last week, they discussed the conduct of an investigation into alleged EJKs in the war on drugs.
“I assure our good Justice Secretary that the PNP has no tolerance for rogues, including those who may have committed unjustified killings in the course of anti-illegal drug operations, and that we are serious in cleansing our ranks,” the PNP chief stressed.
He added that cleansing the ranks of police scalawags has been one of his priority campaigns since he assumed the top PNP post.
“Our agencies both committed to address this long-time concern on EJKs and we see the agreement as a step towards further strengthening our ties. Our willingness to open some of our records to the DOJ is already a big development in terms of our relations,” Eleazar said.
“The DOJ shares the same view and understands why we only allow them access to 61 records of investigation against policemen. It is possible that, in the course of the DOJ’s probe, we can make more records available for its scrutiny,” he added.