MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police said on Saturday it would cooperate with any investigation into the special report by Reuters, which found evidence of falsified death certificates of those killed in the government’s war on drugs.
“While the PNP respects statements made by other agencies or groups regarding illegal drug cases involving police officers, this organization has maintained its position of adhering to the justice system,” the police brigadier said. General Augustus Alba, the PNP’s public information officer, said in a statement.
“The PNP has always shown its willingness to cooperate in any proceedings by providing the necessary documents duly requested by the courts or other investigative bodies,” he added.
Citing cases reviewed by medical examiner Dr Raquel Fortun, Reuters reported that the death certificates of at least 15 drug war victims did not reflect the violent manner in which police and family members declared their dead.
These death certificates say the deceased succumbed to natural causes, such as pneumonia or hypertension, rather than saying they were shot, he added.
The report also reviewed unpublished findings from the Medical Action Group (MAG), a Manila-based group of medical professionals whose work has focused on alleged human rights abuses.
According to Reuters, MAG’s analysis of 107 death certificates issued between July 2016 and June 2019 at the height of the war on drugs found that the majority of those cited natural causes used “vague terminology” for cause of death. or left it empty.
The PNP said it conducts its own internal investigation whenever a police officer is accused of breaking the law and its code of conduct.
“Rest assured that the PNP will take the necessary measures by initiating administrative and criminal proceedings against staff members who are allegedly involved in illegal drugs,” Alba said, adding that the PNP had sanctioned 21,306 police officers from July 2016 to May 2022. .
In April, when Fortun first revealed his findings on the falsified death certificates of people killed in illegal drugs, the PNP said it would investigate the allegations, but only if they were told.
The latest official data shows that at least 6,248 people were killed in law enforcement operations at the end of February. Local and international human rights groups say others were killed, but they lacked documents that could lead to criminal charges.
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Total death toll in war on drugs at 6,248 as of April 30 – PDEA
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