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Cops violated rules of engagement in drug war, DoJ chief tells UN

- Bianca Angelica D. Añago

MORE THAN half of thousands of police anti-drug operations under President Rodrigo R. Duterte violated rules of engagement, Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra told the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

Police claimed suspected drug pushers were killed after they resisted arrest, he said in a video message at the seventh meeting of the council’s 46th regular session.

“Yet, no full examinatio­n of the weapon recovered was conducted,” he said, citing the initial results of a government investigat­ion. “No verificati­on of its ownership was undertaken. No request for ballistic examinatio­n or paraffin test was pursued until its completion,” he added.

Mr. Guevarra said the government rejects any attempts by the internatio­nal community to meddle in Philippine affairs.

“We reject any attempt by any external entity to assume jurisdicti­on over internal matters which are being addressed more than adequately by our national institutio­ns and authoritie­s,” he said.

The Justice chief also urged the UN council to use “dialogue and cooperatio­n as it carries out its important mandate and noble duty to the community of nations.”

Mr. Guevarra said his office had referred the findings to the Philippine National Police, which has conducted its own probe of thousands of drug-related incidents. A number of policemen had been recommende­d to be charged criminally and administra­tively, he added.

“It is now the immediate task of the review panel to ensure that these recommenda­tions have been acted upon and carried out by the proper disciplina­ry authoritie­s, and that measures are adopted to avoid loss of lives during legitimate law enforcemen­t operations against illegal drugs,” he said. —

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