Release of 'drug war' docs could lead to cops being harassed, Bato says
President Rodrigo Duterte orders the police officers facing various charges to be detailed in Basilan for two years during their presentation to the President in Malacañang on February 7, 2017. The President gave the errant police officers 15 days to decide whether to resign or accept their re-assignment in Basilan.
Presidential Photo/Marcelino Pascua

Release of 'drug war' docs could lead to cops being harassed, Bato says

(Philstar.com) - April 3, 2019 - 10:57am

MANILA, Philippines — Former national police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, now a candidate for senator, said he does not fear the release of police investigation records into deaths related to the “war on drugs,” but cautioned police could be harassed because of it.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the government, through the Office of the Solicitor General, to release the voluminous records on deaths related to its bloody campaign against illegal drugs to two petitioners in the high-profile case.

Dela Rosa, one of the respondents in the 2017 case, was quoted in reports as saying: “Wala akong concern. Wala akong tinatago at wala akong takot dyan. Go ahead, that’s a public document. Kunin niyo yan, kung ano ang gusto niyo.”

(I don’t have any concern over that. I am not hiding anything and I don’t have anything to fear. Go ahead, that’s a public document. You can get it, whatever you like.)

The PNP is delisted from the government's Electronic Freedom of Information portal "for them to complete the requirements and satisfy the provisions of the law."

The former top cop, who was later transferred to head the Bureau of Corrections until the filing of his candidacy for senator, was named as one of the respondents in the 2017 case filed by kin of drug war victims.

Dela Rosa, however, said that the release of the records may expose police officers to harassment—a concern he had earlier raised back when he was still heading the national police force.

“Prone na prone ang kapulisan natin sa harassment. Kapag na-harass ‘yung mga pulis d’yan wala nang magtrabaho dyan,” he said.

(Our police are very prone to harassment. When they are harassed, they will no longer do their work.)

Rights groups Karapatan, in response to a similar statement Dela Rosa made in January 2018, said: "Releasing information on the drug war would indeed endanger cops, in the sense that they will be legally prosecuted and made accountable for their murder spree in urban poor communities." 

The two petitioners in the Supreme Court petition are represented by the Free Legal Assistance Group and Center for International Law. They asked the SC to halt the implementation of Duterte’s war on drugs.

Palace: We will follow SC order

The Palace for its part said that it will comply with the SC order. “We always follow the rule of law. The Supreme Court has spoken,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“Unless it reverses itself upon a motion for reconsideration by the Solicitor General, obedience to its ruling should come as a matter of course,” Panelo, who is also the presidential chief legal counsel, added.

Solicitor General Jose Calida had repeatedly blocked the release of the drug war documents to petitioners.

After initially agreeing to Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s order during the oral arguments, Calida later asked the tribunal to reconsider, citing national seucrity.

The SC stood firm on its order and rejected Calida’s appeal.

The court has also released a strongly worded resolution on the matter. It had earlier said: “The OSG’s continued refusal to submit to this Court’s requirement will lead this Court to presume that these information and documents, because they are wilfully suppressed, will be adverse to the OSG’s case.”

While Calida complied with the order and submitted the documents to the court, the petitioners however raised that they were not given a copy of the police records.

Calida had said that the petitioners are not entitled to the documents— Kristine Joy Patag

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