CHR to gov’t: Make public report on deaths in drug war

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    THE Commission on Human Rights yesterday urged the government to make public the initial report of an inter-agency panel looking into deaths in the war against drugs or risk putting the report’s credibility into question.

    In a television interview, CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit also said the commission was left out in the probe of the killings, contrary to earlier assurances the CHR will play a role in the process.

    Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday said the panel, led by the DOJ, has submitted its initial report, dated December 29, to the Office of the President.

    “If it’s done under the shadows, if it’s not transparent, then there is doubt as to the credibility of that report,” Dumpit said.

    “Publicize it or at least share it with the commission so that the victims and their families can get access to the information that they need so that we can pursue justice for the victims.

    “If the government wants to demonstrate that it is sincere and they want to demonstrate that they do have a credible report, then they must share that. They must open that to all independent mechanisms so that we can take a look and advise government on what to do,” she added.

    Dumpit said the CHR requested a copy of the report from Guevarra last January 8, a day after the CHR learned the panel has submitted the initial report to the President.

    Dumpit said the commission wants to know if the more than 5,000 deaths in drug-related police operations were indeed due to self defense. Dumpit said the CHR had received reports that some of those who died in the war on drugs were actually unarmed or already in police custody before ending up dead.