Politics

25 cops in drug war charged, Philippine DoJ tells UN rights council

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ JOHN UNSON

AT LEAST 25 policemen have been charged with murder in connection to what could have been wrongful deaths in the Philippine government’s war on drugs, its Justice chief told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday.

“The government does not hesitate to take action when there is compelling evidence to do so,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla told the UN council during a review of the Philippines’ human rights situation in Geneva.

“We will leave no one behind,” he added, based on a livestreamed video on the UN website. He added that an inter-agency task force on extralegal killings has investigated at least 17,000 cops.

The Justice chief reiterated the government’s goal to change the culture of the local justice system, which he said was prone to delays.

He added that the government would continue coordinating with civic groups to address human rights issues such as extralegal killings.

“We will dispel the mistaken notion that there is a culture of impunity in our country,” he said. “We will not tolerate denial of justice or any violation of human rights.”

The Philippine Commission on Human Rights has said the government of ex-President Rodrigo R. Duterte had encouraged a culture of impunity by hindering independent inquiries and failing to prosecute erring cops involved in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign. — John Victor D. Ordoñez