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PDEA says it will provide ICC with data on drug war if asked

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said it is ready to provide data on the administration's war on drugs if asked by the International Criminal Court, which is set to do an initial review of allegations that President Rodrigo Duterte committed a crime against humanity in the course of the controversial campaign.

“This is precisely why we came up with Real Numbers so we can be transparent in the conduct of the anti-drug campaign. Now if the data will be summoned in relation to such hearing, PDEA will support in terms of the data,” PDEA Director Derrick Carreon said at a press briefing in Malacañang.

Carreon said they will have to look into ICC's processes to determine "where will PDEA and other law enforcement agencies step in order to support the campaign of the President."

The PDEA also left it to the "legal experts" to decide whether the allegations brought forward by lawyer Jude Sabio with the ICC against Duterte and senior administration officials can be considered a crime against humanity.

Philippine National Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, for his part, said the government has already made its position known on the matter.

"I think Malacañang has spoken about the position of the government insofar as this ICC is concerned. The PNP does not want to muddle the issue anymore and we are keeping a distance from it right now," he said.

The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor said last week that it would begin its preliminary examination on the extrajudicial killings associated with the government’s intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign, which kicked off on July 1, 2016.

Malacañang clarified that a preliminary examination does not equate to a formal preliminary investigation, but is merely a procedure conducted by the ICC to determine whether the case falls under its jurisdiction.

The Palace also said that the alleged deaths attributed to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs were because of lawful police operations, thus these could not be regarded as attacks against civilians.

Government data covering the period July 1, 2016 to February 8, 2018 show that law enforcement agencies have conducted 85,068 anti-illegal drug operations and apprehended 121,087 drug suspects.

Authorities have also killed 4,021 drug personalities during this period. — BM, GMA News