MANILA, Sept 17 (Mabuhay) — A civil society group on Friday called on the Philippine National Police to cooperate in the formal investigation launched by the International Criminal Court into possible crimes against humanity committed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
“Ang panawagan ko sana may pulis na merong konsensiya at may values na katotohanan at hustisya na lumapit pa rin sa [ICC],” Dr. Aurora Parong, co-chair of the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, said.
“Sana ay gawin pa rin ninyo kung ano ‘yung tama. Ano ‘yung tama hindi lang para sa inyo, kundi tama para dun sa mga biktima ng paglabag ng karapatang pantao at para sa ating bayan,” she added.
Judges at the ICC on Wednesday approved a formal probe into Duterte’s bloody campaign, in which thousands of suspected drug peddlers have died, many executed by police, according to activists, who say law enforcement agencies have killed with tacit backing of the President.
Duterte and his police chiefs say the killings were in self-defense, while his government insists the ICC has no right to meddle in the country’s affairs.
Government data shows 6,100 suspected drug dealers have been killed by security forces in anti-drug operations since Duterte took office in mid-2016.
Rights groups say many thousands more were assassinated in slum communities, mostly users killed by mystery gunmen who were never caught, and accuse police of involvement.
“Kami sa [PCICC] ay talagang nakikita ang hustisya lang yata na makakamit ng mga biktima at saka ng kanilang mga pamilya ay doon sa [ICC],” Parong said.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the police force was open to any investigation but would have to follow the chain of command.
“Tayo po ay maghihintay lamang ng guidance sa ating mga supervisors or commanders,” he said.
The PNP is an attached agency of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which is under executive branch.
Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said Thursday ICC investigators would not be permitted to enter the country. (MNS)