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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday (Nov. 27) admitted that the typhoons that struck the country has caused delay in the release of the evaluation report on over 5,000 illegal drugs operations where killings occurred.

“The review panel is drafting the initial report,” said Guevarra who earlier committed to United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to release the report this month.

“We lost a number of working days due to recent calamities, so we may be constrained to submit it in December,” he explained.

Guevarra told the UNHRC last June 30 that the Philippine government has formed an inter-agency panel led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review 5,655 anti-illegal drug operations that resulted to killings.

“It will present a report on its work by the end of November of this year,” he told the UNHRC during its 44th Session.

The secretary explained the panel is “external to the Philippine National Police (PNP)” and “re-evaluates these cases and examines the propriety of re-investigating them or filing appropriate charges against erring law enforcement officers.”

“The panel intends to engage affected families, provide them with legal options, and assistance in criminal prosecution of law enforcers who have overstepped legal bounds in their operations,” he added.

Without the panel, Guevarra pointed out that the PNP is “obliged by its internal mechanism to conduct motu proprio investigations whether or not there are complainants on all law enforcement operations that result in deaths, and take action on this basis.”

“This review mechanism will not only reinforce accountability on the drug campaign, it will tighten the web on existing mechanisms to prevent cases of impunity, including the inter-agency committee on the extralegal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations to life, liberty and security of persons,” he assured.

Guevarra added that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is also involved in the review “as an independent monitoring body.”

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