DOJ panel review of deaths in 52 drug operations done–Guevarra

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A Department of Justice (DOJ)-led panel has wrapped up its review of cases covering 52 anti-illegal drug operations where deaths occurred under the Duterte administration, which were previously investigated by the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS).

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he is just going over the results of the review before he consults with the PNP on whether these can be released to the public.

“All these matters will be discussed by the review panel. If criminal investigation is warranted, witnesses including family members will be sought and called upon to provide information,” Guevarra said when asked if the findings would be released to the families of those who died in the 52 anti-drug operations conducted by the police.

Guevarra earlier stressed that the cooperation of witnesses in these 52 drug cases where deaths occurred are necessary in the panel’s ongoing review of these cases.

United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has also challenged the panel that the reinvestigation of cases should produce “meaningful results.”

The said 52 cases involved findings of administrative liability against hundreds of police personnel for alleged misconduct in the course of anti-illegal drug operations.

Aside from these drug cases, the panel has also received 107 case files from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for review.

While it is reviewing these records, the panel is also monitoring the preliminary investigation and prosecution of 87 criminal cases lodged against more than a hundred law enforcers for alleged wrongful conduct during anti-illegal drug operations.

Guevarra has said the panel is ready to seek out witnesses once it is established that there is sufficient ground to proceed to a criminal investigation in any of the cases under review by the panel.

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