Thursday 12 October 2017

Case filed in SC to declare Drug War as 'Unconstitutional"

MANILA -- A group of lawyers filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to halt the Philippine National Police (PNP) operations in connection with the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

In a 41-page petition for prohibition and writ of amparo filed by Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) led by Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno, the group asked the High Court to declare as unconstitutional the PNP’s CMC 16-2016, or “Oplan Double Barrel,” which he said expressly allows the police to neutralize suspected drug pushers.

Diokno said that the war on drugs operationalized by this CMC is unconstitutional as it "is based on a mere verbal campaign promise by then candidate Rodrigo Duterte “to get rid of illegal drugs” within the first six months of his term.”  *

(photo credit from Twitter)
He, meanwhile, likened the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Memorandum Circular ‎‎2017-112, or the “Masa Masid” project, to the acts committed by the Japanese when they invaded the Philippines as well as the secret police of Germany during World War II.

Under the project, citizens are allowed to report any person who may be involved in narcotics to drop boxes put up in some barangays (villages).

“You can report any person, even if they are completely innocent. It does not require evidence, only names. This is just like during the Japanese occupation or the rule of Nazi Germany,” he explained in a press conference.

FLAG also filed the petition for the SC to issue protection orders for the relatives of three persons who ended up as victims of “extralegal killings” in the drug campaign.

Diokno said that the killings of Ryan Dave Almora and Rex Aparri, and the shooting of Jefferson Soriano, are part of “extralegal killings,” thus covered by the rule on the writ of amparo.

According to Diokno, Almora and Aparri were shot dead during a home invasion in relation to the campaign against drugs, while Soriano survived an alleged summary execution attempt.

They are also asking for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), instead of the police, to conduct a thorough and impartial probe into the killings of Almora and Aparri, and the shooting of Soriano. *

The petitioners also sought to require the police to submit the firearms allegedly used by Almora and Aparri and the firearms discharged by the police to the NBI for forensic examination.

FLAG also asked the SC to issue temporary protection orders to keep the petitioners from being “harassed, arrested, threatened, harmed or killed” by policemen.

Diokno said this is for the petitioners to be protected from being included in drug lists, watchlists, wanted lists or similar lists of illegal drug or criminal personalities.

The group also asked the high court to hold the PNP directly responsible for disclosing information over the alleged extralegal killings, for conducting proper investigations using extraordinary diligence, with the obligation to show investigation results before the Court.

Named respondents in the petition were incoming Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff and PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa.

Sought for a comment, PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos welcomed the filing of the petition before SC.

Earlier, similar petitions against the campaign have been filed before the High Court.

A petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo was filed earlier this year for a survivor and families of four men allegedly killed by members of the Quezon City Police District in Payatas during an Oplan Tokhang operation last year. *

Last month, a petition was also filed asking the SC to order government agencies to resolve cases of extrajudicial killings under the war on illegal drugs


Report from ( Lawyers group asks SC to declare drug war ‘unconstitutional’)

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