Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday the Department of Justice review panel would examine as many as it could the cases of deaths arising from illegal drugs operations before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2022.
“It all depends on the manpower resources that we can muster and the extent of cooperation that the PNP (Philippine National Police) will extend to us,” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
Guevarra admitted that records and files on illegal drugs operations “are not consolidated or centralized in a single office but are to be found in the various regional offices of the PNP.”
“We may also consider random sampling of cases from all regions. It is possible that certain patterns may be observed without having to examine each and every case,” he said.
Justice Undersecretary Adrian Ferdinand Sugay earlier said the DOJ might not be able to finish the review of the thousands of cases involving deaths during the illegal drugs operations.
“There are so many. We only have a few months to do it,” Sugay said, noting that the number of cases had reached over 6,000.
Sugay said the instruction given by Guevarra was to review cases that took place in urban areas first.
PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Sugay said, has expressed his “willingness, readiness to make available the records of these cases" to the DOJ.
Fifty-two cases involving deaths in drug war operations had been reviewed by the Justice department so far.
The results had been given to the President, the PNP and to the National Bureau of Investigation which was ordered by Guevarra to conduct case buildups and to file charges if evidence warranted.