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Test case vs drug war

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THE Supreme Court has been asked to issue a writ of amparo to stop the Quezon City police from conducting further anti-illegal drug operations under President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Oplan Tokhang” program in Payatas, Quezon City.

The petition, filed by families of alleged victims of “tokhang” operations and a survivor, is the first case filed with the Court since the Duterte administration launched its war against illegal drugs in July 2016.

The petitioners also sought the issuance of a temporary protection order prohibiting the police from entering within a radius of five kilometers of the residence and work addresses of the petitioners, and asked the Court to order the Philippine National Police to produce and permit inspection and copying of intelligence and surveillance reports, police blotters, coordination, video and all other official and unofficial documents and material pertaining to the police operations conducted on Aug. 21, 2016 against the victims in relation to their being suspected drug personalities under Oplan Tokhang.

Among the petitioners was Efren Morillo, who survived the government’s “tokhang” operations and is now being considered a vital witness in the murder and frustrated murder cases being readied by the Center for International Law against the respondents.

CRIME CULTURE. Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa, on the spot Thursday before a Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, reiterates the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo indicates the existence of a crime syndicate using legitimate police efforts to mask outrageous activities. Lino Santos

Besides Morillo, the other petitioners are Martino Morillo, Victoria Morillo, Ma. Belen Daa, Marla Daa, Maribet Bartolay, Lydia Gabo, Jennifer Nicolas and Marilyn Malimban.

Named respondents in the petition were Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director Police Senior Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, (QCPD) Police Stattion 6 Commander P/Supt. Lito Patay, and several other policemen namely P/SI Emil Garcia, PO3 Allan Formilleza, PO1 James Aggarao and PO1 Melchor Navisaga.

In seeking protection under the writ of amparo, the petitioners said Morillo continues to fear for his life considering the police filed trumped up charges of direct assault against him.

“The other petitioners suffer the same violation of their right to life, liberty and security. They are terrified for their own lives and the lives of their family members, relatives and loved ones because the perpetrators keep returning to intimidate and harass them into silence,” the petition stated.

“They are violated in their own homes because the perpetrators freely barge in. They could not go to work because they are afraid to leave their children alone in their houses. Their lives are at a standstill,” it said.

Dela Rosa said there was no basis for filing for a writ of amparo, noting that not all of the anti-drug operations end the way they did for the South Korean who was kidnapped and killed by crooked policemen.

He dared critics of their operations to ask the 1.3 million drug users who surrendered to authorities.

“Were they kidnapped?’ Were they asked for ransom? Nothing like that,” he said.

“Why stop tokhang? Would you want the return of the drug problem?” he said.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said they would follow the legal process in responding to the case.

“The President allows all these things. He is very allowing right? Even the protests, he will allow,” he added.

Data from the PNP show that more than 6,700 people have died in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

As of Jan. 9, the PNP said at least 4,146 of these cases were not legitimate police operations.

Abella also insisted the government was not behind the spate of extrajudicial killings linked to the PNP’s war on drugs.

“Of course. We’re not into that. I mean really, we’re not into that,” he said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta and Sandy Araneta


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