Guevarra report to UN rights body shows Philippine legal system working â Palace
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

Guevarra report to UN rights body shows Philippine legal system working — Palace

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 25, 2021 - 6:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra's admission before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that the police had failed to follow protocols in many of its operations proves that the domestic legal system is still working, Malacañang said Thursday.

In a video message to the UNHRC on Wednesday, Guevarra said while law enforcers claimed that the subject of their anti-drug operations had fought back, there was no full examination of the weapon recovered in many cases. The owners of the weapons were not verified and no ballistic examination or paraffin test was conducted, the justice secretary added.

Guevarra also reported that law enforcement agents had failed to follow standard protocols on coordination with other agencies and the processing of the crime scene in more than half of the records reviewed. He said "scores" of police officers have been recommended for administrative and criminal action.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Guevarra's report was proof that the government is serious in fulfilling its obligation to investigate and prosecute police officers who violated the law.

"For me, this is proof to the whole world that contrary to the claims of our critics domestically and internationally, we are in discharge of our state obligation to investigate and prosecute violations of the right to life. We are fulfilling our obligations to give justice to the victims of the right to life," Roque said at a press briefing.

"We are facing the possibility that some policemen need to be accountable before the law," he added.

Roque noted that the state has the obligation to provide remedies to victims so they can be served justice.  

"That proves that our domestic legal system is working and there is no need for other institutions to intervene. Let us give our legal system a chance to function since we have transparency and open mindedness on the part of no less than our secretary of justice," he added.

Roque claimed that Guevarra's findings do not prove accusations that the "war on drugs" is encouraging human rights violations.

"It does not prove anything, because what is accepted as proof of the commission of a crime is generally the decision of a court," the Palace spokesman said.

More than 5,000 suspected drug offenders have died since President Rodrigo Duterte waged his "war" on illegal drugs, one of his campaign promises that allowed him to win by landslide in 2016.

Late last year, International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there is "reasonable basis" to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in the Philippines but Malacañang claimed the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the Philippines.

Duterte has withdrawn the Philippines from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, after the ICC decided to look into his controversial drug crackdown.

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