DECEMBER 6, 2019 – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday defended anew the legitimacy of its anti-illegal drugs operations as the International Criminal Court hopes to finish next year its preliminary examination of the controversial drug war.
In a statement, the PNP slammed the report of the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor which underlined alleged abuses such as rape in the anti-narcotics campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte. The report was released on Thursday.
“The PNP maintains the regularity of all police operations in its major campaigns against crime, illegal drugs, and terrorism where the possibility of armed confrontation with suspects is always present,” the PNP said in a statement
“The rehashed narratives of alleged abuses remain to be unfounded and devoid of truth from the beginning but had been repeatedly told and retold over and over to make sound factual,” it added.
The ICC prosecutor has noted in its report allegations of rape perpetuated by policemen against women linked to drug suspects.
It also mentioned cases of vigilante-killings and individuals “subjected to serious ill-treatment and abuses prior to being killed by state actors and other unidentified assailants.”
The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute of the ICC in 2018 but it took effect only last March 17.
However, the ICC prosecutor continued the examination of Duterte’s bloody war, asserting that the court retains jurisdiction over crimes committed during the time when the country is still party to the Statute.
Duterte assumed office in 2016.
Several advocacy groups have demanded an improved drug war that respects human rights and sought accountability from erring police officers.
Last July, the United Nations Human Rights Council also adopted a resolution of Iceland which called for a probe into the human rights situation in the country.
Over 5,500 drug suspects were killed since 2016 based on latest government data, but human rights groups alleged that the death toll could be as high as 27,000.
Opposition leader and Vice President Leni Robredo earlier promised to end the “senseless killings” in the drug war after Duterte appointed her in the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs early November.
But her stint was cut immediately after 19 days over trust issues, with Duterte calling out her meeting with foreign bodies for consultation and demand for classified information. (Karen Macalalad/MM)