Palace to release drug war records

April 03, 2019
Salvador Panelo

MALACAÑANG vowed to comply with the order of the Supreme Court for authorities to release copies of police reports on the government’s war on drugs to the two groups asking the high court to declare the controversial campaign unconstitutional.

In a statement issued late Tuesday evening, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Duterte administration “always follows the rule of law.”

“The Supreme Court has spoken. Unless it reverses itself upon a motion for reconsideration by the Solicitor General, obedience to its ruling should come as a matter of course,” Panelo said.

The SC order was an offshoot of its 2017 directive for the OSG to submit documents relating to the drug war. After government lawyers complied, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), which represents some of the petitioners, asked for copies of the reports.

The Court granted their request, but Solicitor General Jose Calida appealed, arguing the petitioners were “not entitled” to copies of “confidential” reports on drug war cases that he said remain under investigation.

The SC has previously ruled the drug war reports it asked the government to submit, which includes lists of persons killed, drug lords “neutralized,” and of the illegal drugs involved, will not affect national security.

The Center for International Law, which represents the other group of petitioners, also asked for copies, saying it was a matter of due process.

Calida had earlier linked the petitions challenging the constitutionality of the government’s war on drugs to efforts to destabilize the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and sow anarchy.

He told the SC that the petitions intend to drive a wedge between the President and the Philippine National Police and Department of the Interior and Local Government, “inciting disobedience to the Chief Executive and depriving him of his powers and prerogatives.”

Calida said the petitions are aimed to “emasculate the government’s police powers by rendering inutile the PNP’s sworn mandate to enforce the law and maintain peace and order.”