JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday appealed to critics of the inter-agency panel created to investigate more than 5,000 deaths in police anti-drug operations in the country since 2016 to reserve their judgment until after the panel has completed its probe.
“It will be for everyone’s good to allow this inter-agency panel to do what it has set out to do, and reserve judgment at the proper time,” Guevarra said. “This panel needs all the help it can get, including from those who seek to discredit it much too early.”
The Justice Department is the lead agency of the panel, with Guevarra saying he will take a “judicious review” of the 5,655 deaths labeled by critics as extra-judicial killins. He added the panel will come up with a report in November.
Completing the panel are representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, DILG, PDEA, NBI, PCOO, Dangerous Drugs Board, Presidential Management Staff and the Presidential Human Rights Committee secretariat.
Guevarra said the Commission on Human Rights will also be involved as well as a university think tank.
Immediately after Guevarra announced the creation of the panel, Carlos Conde of the Human Rights Watch said the move is part of the propaganda to “appease the UN Human Rights Council and prevent it from taking action” on the abuses committed in the name of the anti-drug war.