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SC asked to declare war vs drugs illegal

By: Rey G. Panaligan

The Supreme Court was asked yesterday to declare as “patently illegal and grossly unconstitutional” the government’s all-out drive against illegal drugs being implemented by the Philippine National Police.

In a petition, the Free Legal Assistance Group asked the SC to issue a Temporary Restraining Order against the PNP Command Memorandum Circular No. 16-2016 on “Oplan: Double Barrel.”

The petition was filed in behalf of the victims of so-called extrajudicial killings Dave Almora and Rex Aparri and survivor Jefferson Soriano.

Named respondents were PNP chief Director General Ronald M. dela Rosa and Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary and officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy.

The SC was told that CMC 16-2016 was not formally put in a proper written executive order. The petition stated that “the PNP’s ‘War on Drugs’ as operationalized under CMC 16-2016 violates the right to life, to due process of law, to be presumed innocent, and to a fair trial by expressly authorizing the summary killing of suspected drug offenders in the guise of ‘neutralizing’ or ‘negating’ them.”

Assisted by FLAG chairperson and De La Salle University law school dean Jose Manuel Diokno, the petitioners said that the drive against illegal drugs that has resulted in the deaths of over 7,000 individuals who were killed in both police operations and vigilante killings “violates the right to due process of law, to be presumed innocent, and to a fair trial by doing away with the basic police duty of evidence-gathering and case build-up.”