THE Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership yesterday welcomed the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release the summaries of the 52 cases it reviewed in connection with deaths related to the police’s war on drugs since 2016.
PNP chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said the decision of the DOJ headed by Secretary Menardo Guevarra is consistent with the PNP stand for transparency and accountability in the police organization.
“We welcome the decision of the Department of Justice to release these documents to the public. Simula pa lang ay lubos na ang ating kooperasyon sa DOJ sa pamumuno ni Secretary Menardo Guevarra sa pamamagitan ng ating SILG Eduardo Año, at ipinaubaya na natin sa kanila ang desisyon tungkol sa mga kasong ito in the interest of truth, transparency and justice,” said Eleazar.
The top cop however noted both the sacrifices of policemen on the ground and the accomplishments of their campaign against illegal drugs.
Among them, he said, is the fact that the campaign against illegal drugs since 2016 had already resulted in the confiscation of multi-billion peso worth of illegal drugs, the neutralization of key players in the illegal drugs trade in the country and the dismantling of shabu laboratories in the country.
Eleazar added that the aggressive campaign against illegal drugs also resulted in the unprecedented 64 percent decrease in index crime in the entire country over the past five years.
“Marami rin sa aming hanay ang nagbuwis ng buhay sa mga operasyong ito kaya nararapat lamang na mabigyan din sila ng hustisya sa mga maling paratang tungkol dito. At huwag din nating kakalimutan ang mga sakripisyo ng inyong kapulisan na nagresulta sa pagkakakumpiska ng bilyong-bilyong halaga ng mga iligal na droga,” he said.
According to the DOJ, the summaries that will be released will include docket numbers, names of deceased suspects, places and dates of the incidents, and the review panel’s summary of observations on the cases.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is set to conduct case buildup for the possible filing of criminal charges against erring police officers. The PNP and the NBI are set to ink a memorandum of agreement to jointly investigate drug war deaths.
Eleazar also urged the victims to cooperate in holding policemen who committed abuses accountable for their action.
“Ito rin ang pagkakataon para sa mga pamilya ng nasawi sa police anti-illegal drug operation para sila’y makapagsumite ng complaint-affidavit o kaya’y magharap ng testigo upang maisampa ang kaukulang kasong kriminal sa korte. Tinitiyak ko ang buong pakikipagtulungan ng PNP sa NBI. Walang mangyayaring takipan at ating pananagutin ang may dapat panagutan,” he said.
Eleazar again reminded his men to strictly and continuously follow the Police Operational Procedures in order to ensure that they would not be put in trouble in the performance of their mandate of maintaining peace and order in the country.
“Let this serve as a lesson to all our personnel that as police officers, we are law enforcers who are duty-bound to uphold the law. Tagapagpatupad tayo ng batas, hindi tayo ang batas,” he said.
“Always remember that the true courage of a police officer is measured by how he keeps his integrity and moral values intact amid the temptation and the pressure to commit abuses and disregard the rule of law,” he added.