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CHR exec blasts PNP over 'non-cooperation' on drug war probe

A Commission on Human Rights (CHR) official on Wednesday hit the alleged non-cooperation of the police force in the investigation on human rights abuses related to the anti-drug war, saying it's in a level unprecedented in almost three decades.

“I have been in the CHR for 27 years, and never could I remember such non-cooperation experienced by the CHR until this Duterte administration,” said CHR Commissioner Karen Dumpit in a Dobol B sa News TV interview.

“Kahit kaunting cooperation sa kapulisan when we request for information, iyong mga regional officers po namin, they always mention that the police does not cooperate, they say they need to ask permission from higher-ups. Kapag nakikipagdayalogo kami, ayaw nila,” she added.

GMA News Online was reaching out to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for its comment as of posting time.

Dumpit made the pronouncement a day after Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced the establishment of an inter-agency panel that will review thousands of police anti-illegal drug operations that resulted in deaths before the UN Human Rights Council, with the CHR serving as an independent monitoring body of the panel.

“We have to wait and see if they will engage with us,” Dumpit said of the police force.

Dumpit welcomed Guevarra's statement but with reservations, noting the CHR's experience with the current administration.

“Definitely, it is a good development. Pero iba ang sinasabi, iba iyong ginagawa. Near impunity nga tayo sabi ng UN, at isa lang ang successful prosecution. Lagi nilang sinasabi na iyong line of dissent, CHR iyon. Pero dapat makipagtulungan sila,” she said.

“Lagi nilang sinasabi, iniimbestigahan ng Internal Affairs Service ng PNP; na wala naman silang nakitang problema kasi may presumption of regularity. Pero regular ba, in course of function ba, na palaging may namamatay sa legitimate police operations? Hindi dapat ganun dahil tungkulin ng gobyerno ay to preserve life,” Dumpit asked.

Dumpit also scored the police for largely justifying the killing of drug suspects due to the later resisting arrest, saying that the wounds and body of the slain suspects tell otherwise.

“Nanlaban sila? Bakit ang location ng wound, sa ulo? Fatal agad eh. Iyong iba, nakatali ang kamay. Yung iba naman, isa laban sa lima, kahit nasa police custody na,” she said.

Dumpit said that being suspected of a crime should not be tantamount to a death sentence.

“Ang protection of the public does not only include law-abiding citizens. Tungkulin ng gobyerno to protect lives and prevent arbitrary deprivation of life o pagpatay ng ibang tao,” she said.

“Do not kill. Hindi proud moment for the government na maraming napatay na drug addicts. We can’t go through the motions. We have to show that we are doing something about it. We have to show results.”

Based on government records, over 5,500 drug suspects have been killed in police operations. Human rights organizations, on the other hand, peg the figure at around 20,000 people, including those killed by vigilante groups believed to be inspired by President Rodrigo Duterte's rhetoric on killing suspected drug peddlers, or those allegedly working discreetly for the police. --KBK, GMA News