PDEA ready to provide ICC drug war numbers

PDEA has gotten a lot of flak over its proposal to conduct drug tests on grade four students and above.

THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it asks for figures on the campaign against illegal drugs, the spokesperson of the PDEA said Wednesday.

“This is precisely why we came out with these real numbers in order for us to become more transparent with regards to the conduct of the drug campaign,” PDEA Director Derrick Carreon said during the #RealNumbersPH press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.

Last week, the Palace announced that the Hague-based ICC is set to conduct preliminary examination on the alleged extrajudicial killings in relation to the administration’s war on drugs.

“If the data will be summoned in relation to such hearing, then PDEA will support in terms of the data. If the data is relevant, automatically, we will submit it,” Carreon said.

A complaint was filed in April 2017 by Edgar Matobato’s lawyer, Jude Sabio, before the ICC, accusing President Rodrigo R. Duterte and 11 other government officials of crime against humanity.

Malacanang, however, explained that the Duterte administration’s fight against illegal drugs is “lawful and a sovereign act”.

For his part, Duterte said he is ready to face the ICC even if it would mean being executed by firing squad.

“I can face the ICC. If they want to indict me and convict me, fine. I will gladly do it for my country. I told them (ICC), find a place where they allow execution by firing squad. I would love to experience what Rizal experienced, too,” Duterte said in an event held last Tuesday at Malacanang’s hall named after national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, who was executed by firing squad on Dec. 31, 1896 for leading a revolution against the Spanish government.

During the Palace briefing, the combined #RealNumbersPH data showed that since the campaign started on July 1, 2016, 85,068 anti-drug operations have been conducted resulting in the arrest of 121,087 and the killing of 4,021 drug personalities.

Data as of Feb. 8 also showed that 87 drug law enforcers were killed while 227 others were wounded in the operations that resulted in the confiscation of 2,610.37 kilos of drugs and other chemicals and laboratory equipment amounting to P19.61 billion.

The drug cases filed in court reached 43,226, some 22,189 of which have been referred to prosecution while 5,327 barangays (villages) have also been declared drug-free.

According to the PNP’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, a total of 639 homicide cases have been solved out of 2,388 drug-related incidents.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag explained that Real Numbers aims not only to correct misleading numbers from international rights groups and media but to present the real story and the people behind every figure.

“While we know that the complaints filed before the ICC are founded on political motive and baseless numbers, we reiterate that the Philippine government respects and protects human rights,” Banaag said.

While there may be isolated cases of abuse, Banaag said the President never tolerates abuses and the PNP adheres to rules of engagement.

p: wjg