PH Supreme Court orders release of all drug war-related police reports to human rights petitioners

Photo: ABS-CBN News
Photo: ABS-CBN News

Justices of the Philippine Supreme Court (SC) unanimously voted today to order the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to furnish copies of all the drug war-related police reports to two human rights groups. This is in relation to the extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs.

“The Court just ordered the Solicitor General to submit the police reports [related to the drug war] to the Supreme Court, copy-furnishing the petitioners,” the SC’s information chief and spokesperson Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka said at a press conference, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Solicitor General Jose Calida earlier filed for a motion for reconsideration and asked for the documents to stay between the government and the SC. He said that the release of the documents will put at risk national security, Rappler reported.

But with the SC’s latest order, it seems it disagrees with Calida.

The documents will be given to the Philippine-based human rights advocacy group Center for International Law (CenterLaw), who represents residents of 26 barangays (villages) in San Andres Bukid in Manila, and the nationwide organization of human rights lawyers called Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).

The groups filed separate petitions in 2017 that seek to declare the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs as unconstitutional.

CenterLaw’s petition involves 35 alleged EJKs in San Andres Bukid, Manila, while the FLAG petition involves three separate alleged cases of EJKs in different parts of the country.

CenterLaw, said today that the SC’s move was the first step towards the “long road for justice for the petitioners and to thousands of victims of the ‘war on drugs’ and their families.”

“CenterLaw extends its gratitude to the Supreme Court for upholding the basic and fundamental right of the Petitioners to due process, and for promoting transparency and integrity in the proceedings,” it said in a statement, as reported by CNN Philippines.

Rappler reported that the petitioners will receive police and other investigation reports related to about 20,322 killings by vigilantes and police operatives in the war on drugs.

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