SC to Sol-Gen: Submit drug war records

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This file photo taken on August 2, 2017 shows residents looking at the body of an alleged drug user killed by unidentified assailants in Manila. — AFP

THE SUPREME COURT (SC) en banc on Tuesday gave the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) 15 days to submit to the high court records related to the 3,806 confirmed deaths from legitimate police operations and the government’s war on drugs, according to a press statement.

“The Court denied the Solicitor General’s Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s Order dated 5 December 2017 and directed (the government) to comply with the said Order by submitting the required reports within a period of fifteen (15) days from notice,” read the statement, pertaining to the government’s anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to Nov. 30, 2017.

The order stemmed from a petition by the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) which called the police’s circulars unconstitutional for using terms like “negating” in dealing with drug suspects.

Names, addresses, ages, gender of the individuals killed were just some of the information the SC required the government to submit.

In oral arguments last December, Mr. Calida replied to Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio’s verbal order then, with, “Yes, Your Honor, we will embody them in our memorandum.”

But in his motion for reconsideration on Dec. 18 last year, he cited the possible negative repercussions such an order will have on national security since the documents “contain sensitive information that have national security implications.”

In a related development, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has offered to provide assistance to the Philippine government in its rehabilitation efforts for drug users in the country.

“Regional Representative of the UNODC for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Jeremy Douglas commended the Philippines’ efforts and offered the support and cooperation of UNODC through providing capacity building and technical assistance programs to the Government,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on Monday, April 2.

Mr. Douglas directed his offer to Secretary Catalino S. Cuy of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and Philippine Ambassador to Austria Maria Cleofe R. Natividad on March 23 in Vienna, Austria.

According to the DFA, Mr. Cuy was in Vienna to attend the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

“During the discussions, Secretary Cuy provided Mr. Douglas a brief background on the community based treatment currently being implemented in the Philippines as a response to the overwhelming number of drug users who surrendered to the government,” the DFA said.

In his speech at the said event, Mr. Cuy emphasized the comprehensive and balanced approach undertaken by the Philippines through its anti-illegal drug strategy, a press statement from the DBB said.

“The strategy provides an extensive framework for law enforcement and penalties for violations and at the same time adopts a compassionate approach to victims of drug abuse by encouraging voluntary treatment and rehabilitation, under an overarching framework which emphasizes respect for human rights,” Mr. Cuy said.

The DBB likewise said Mr. Cuy’s statement “apprised the international community of the gains achieved so far of the focused anti-illegal drug campaign in the areas of prevention, treatment and law enforcement.”

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is “the leading United Nations agency on drug policies,” the DBB itself notes.

The Commission “meets annually to bring together more than 3,000 delegates from governments, international organizations, civil society organization, youth and the scientific community.” — Dane Angelo M. Enerio and Arjay L. Balinbin