The government’s inter-agency panel reviewing drug operations in the country might include the fake buy-bust operation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement (PDEA) in Dumaguete City, said Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said.
“We have the review panel but we are still studying how cases such as the fake buy-bust operation in Dumaguete can be included,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra last June revealed before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that the government formed the DOJ-led inter-agency panel to review all the drug operations that resulted to deaths since 2016 when President Rodrigo Duterte took over.
Meanwhile, Villar said that the DOJ’s National Prosecution Service (NPS) will wait for the results that will be conducted by other agencies over the fake PDEA drug bust in Dumaguete City.
“The National Prosecution Service conducts preliminary investigation only upon the filing of a complaint,” she explained.
“Generally, prosecutors are not tasked to conduct criminal investigations, which pertain to the actual collection of information through surveillance, observance of persons and premises, interview of persons who may have knowledge about the crime committed, etc,” she added.
Villar pointed out that law enforcement agencies are “the ones that conduct an investigation and file the complaint before the prosecutor.”
Dumaguete City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Amelia Lourdes Mendoza has has dismissed the drug charges against six persons whom PDEA claimed where arrested during an illegal drugs buy-bust operation in a house last June 28.
With this, the magistrate ordered the NPS and the PDEA to conduct an investigation over the incident.
The magistrate also initiated indirect proceedings against those involved in the fake operation including five PDEA agents, a barangay official, and a media representative.
In her ruling, Mendoza said closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footages showed that PDEA were lying and that the six persons were actually picked up in various locations.