Two years since historic legal challenge, petitioners urge SC anew to issue protection writ vs drug war killings
A Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agent secures part of a street holding residents temporarily during a drug raid in Maharlika Village, Taguig, south of Manila on Feb. 28, 2018. The drug raid was conducted to arrest five drug dealers, but only two were captured. President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead and seen human rights groups claim he was responsible for a crime against humanity. The anti-drugs campaign enjoys popular support while the fiery-tongued Duterte has rejected any criticism of his human rights record.
AFP/Noel Celis
Two years since historic legal challenge, petitioners urge SC anew to issue protection writ vs drug war killings
Kristine Joy Patag ( - October 23, 2019 - 11:37am

MANILA, Philippines — Petitioners in the historic challenge to President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war urged the Supreme Court to issue a writ of protection against government agents implementing “Oplan Tokhang.”

More than two years since the plea was filed, kin of drug war victims filed a Supplemental Memorandum urging the SC to issue writ of amparo and prohibition.

The petitioners, assisted by the Free Legal Assistance Group, stressed that drug war documents submitted by the police bolster their argument that the circular memorandum for Project Double Barrel “commands the police not only to apprehend but to neutralize (as in kill) suspected drug personalities.”

“The circulars operationalizing the War on Drugs have removed due process and judicial warrants from the equation of law enforcement and replaced them with the indiscriminate and arbitrary compilation of names,” the pleading read.

READ: SC tells Calida: Thousands of deaths in drug war of 'grave' public concern

They also pointed out that police data did not indicate that cases have been filed against its operatives who admitted to killing suspects.

“This bolsters petitioners’ argument that the War on Drugs has spawned police impunity and done away with accountability,” they said.

The drug war petition

In 2017, two groups of petitioners asked the SC to halt the implementation of Duterte’s war on drugs. Their pleas are centered on killings in the San Andres Bukid district of Manila and in Baguio.

Last April, the SC ordered the Office of the Solicitor General to release the voluminous records on the government’s anti-narcotics operations, as the tribunal stressed that the documents “involve public concern and interest.”

The records will be among the bases of the court’s pending ruling on the petition that challenges the constitutionality of Duterte’s drug war that claimed thousands of Filipino lives.

The government complied with the SC order, but the second group of petitioners, represented by the Center for International Law, said that most of the cases included in the released records were not drug-related.

RELATED: DILG exec: Supreme Court, not group of lawyers, should say if drug war files are ‘rubbish’

The International Criminal Court is also looking into several communications alleging crimes against humanity committed by the Duterte administration over the thousands of deaths under its brutal crackdown on drugs.

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