The country's mandatory organization of lawyers asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday for information on its "one-time, big-time" operations against illegal drugs and crime that resulted in a number of deaths over the past weeks.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo said they had requested from the PNP copies of the pre-operation and spot reports regarding the operations.
At least 91 persons were reported dead as a result of intensified police operations in the National Capital Region and in the provinces of Bulacan and Cavite.
The deaths took place from August 13 to 20, the week when teenage student Kian Loyd Delos Santos was killed by policemen allegedly carrying out anti-drug operations in Barangay 160, Caloocan City.
"We are desirous of a favorable response from the Philippine National Police which prides itself to be among the agencies that have enthusiastically taken the cudgels of transparency," the IBP said in a statement.
"The IBP has released formal requests in this regard, inasmuch as the national organization of lawyers remains committed to the protection of basic rights, because we stand by our moral obligation as advocates of justice, based on our solemn oath," it added.
While fighting illegal drugs is a "legitimate State undertaking," the IBP said describing the government action as a "war" had "led to the mistaken collective sense that there must be actual physical casualty in its wake – whether direct or collateral."
"In this frenzied fight against prohibited drugs, the nation stands witness to a series of killings, summary executions, and cold-blooded murder," the lawyers organization said.
Delos Santos died in one of the bloodiest weeks in the government's war on illegal drugs with the Caloocan policemen claiming he was a drug runner who opened fire on them on August 16 to evade arrest.
CCTV footage and accounts of witnesses appear to contradict the cops' claims, sparking public outrage over the campaign, which has already claimed thousands of lives since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in June last year.
"While official investigation is said to be ongoing, serious misgivings have been voiced as to the legitimacy of the entire police operation. Kian’s case may not be isolated," the IBP said. —NB, GMA News