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By Prince Golez

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar commended the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its efforts to resolve cases of deaths related to the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.

“We laud the DOJ for their continued commitment in resolving cases of deaths that have occurred in legitimate anti-illegal drugs operations, prioritizing hundreds of cases being handled by its prosecution officers, notwithstanding the challenges of the pandemic,” Andanar said in a statement Saturday.

The department heads the inter-agency panel that conducts a judicious review of 5,655 anti-illegal drugs operations where deaths occurred by also engaging affected families and providing them with legal assistance in the criminal prosecution of law enforcers who overstepped the limits of their authority.

The chief of the Presidential Communications Operations Office expressed confidence that the DOJ report will establish that the government takes full responsibility for the accountable, transparent nationwide anti-drug campaign.

Andanar also recognized the efforts of law enforcement officials who have observed the highest standards of honor, integrity, and competence in making communities safer and more secure.

Last September 2, the DOJ and the Commission on Human Rights signed a data-sharing agreement that aims to facilitate the investigation and case build-up that lead to prosecution in cases within the mandate of Administrative Order No. (AO) 35.

AO35 serves as the state’s mechanism dedicated to resolving cases of political violence such as extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, among other similar grave human rights violations.

“These are testaments that we, in the government under the leadership of President Duterte, have always put an emphasis on resolving the country’s pressing issues, such as the proliferation of illegal drugs, while upholding our democratic foundations, human rights, rule of law, and the principles of good governance,” the secretary concluded.

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