DOJ leads panel to review EJKs

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    THE Duterte administration has created an inter-agency panel headed by the Department of Justice to evaluate more than 5,000 deaths in police anti-drug operations since 2016.

    Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the inter-agency will take a “judicious review” of the 5,655 deaths in anti-drug operations conducted by the PNP.

    Guevarra said the review is separate from the internal investigations conducted by the PNP on its law enforcement operations that resulted in deaths.

    “This inter-agency panel, external to the PNP reevaluates these cases and examines the propriety of reinvestigating them or filing appropriate charges against erring law enforcement officers,” Guevarra told the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland.

    “This review mechanism will not only reinforce accountability on the drug campaign, it will also tighten the web on existing mechanisms to prevent cases of impunity, including the inter-agency committee on extralegal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations to life, liberty and security of persons,” he added.

    The creation of the inter-agency panel is one of the responses of the Duterte administration to criticisms here and abroad regarding the bloody crackdown against illegal drugs in the country.

    Guevarra said the panel will work with affected families and provide them legal options and assistance on criminal prosecution against law enforcers who may have overstepped legal bounds in their operations.

    “It will present a report on its work by the end of November this year,” he added.

    Aside from the DOJ, the other members of the panel are the DILG, DFA, PCOO, Dangerous Drugs Board, PDEA, NBI, Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat and the Presidential Management Staff.

    Guevarra said the Commission on Human Rights will also be involved in the review.

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