MANILA The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday said it would have to get President Rodrigo R. Duterte's approval before it can submit to the Supreme Court (SC) documents in connection with the government's war on drugs.
This was stated by outgoing PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa, noting that the PNP already asked for more time to comply with the SC order to produce such records, particularly in connection with the nearly 3,000 deaths arising from anti-drug operations.
"I signed a document requesting the Solicitor General to request the SC na bigyan kami ng extension dahil nga very voluminous yung dokumento na pini-prepare namin para dyan (to give us an extension because the documents are voluminous). Nire-review namin so humihingi kami ng extension but then again even though we are prepared, ako ha, that's my standpoint even though prepared na kami lahat lahat kapag sinabi ni Presidente na huwag mo ibigay, kung ako pa ang Chief PNP, hindi ko talaga ibibigay kung sabihin niya na huwag mo ibigay (That is why we are reviewing it but we are prepared, but if the President says do not hand it over, I will not give it)," outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said in a television interview Wednesday.
Incoming PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde, for his part, echoed dela Rosa's position, saying they wait for the Malacanang's approval before submitting documents to the high court but said there had been a similar compliance to submit documents to the Senate when the body was conducting its parliamentary inquiries on the PNP.
"It will depend on the decision of the Commander in Chief of course kasi kami naman under sa kanya talaga. We also take orders from the Commander in Chief but then again ito naman lahat ay naka-prepare na. These are all public documents, nandyan sa blotter, naka spot report yan. Nakapag-submit na kami even before ng spot reports sa Senate long time ago (It will depend on the decision of the Commander in Chief, because of course we are under him. We also take orders from the Commander in Chief but then again, all these have already been prepared. We have submitted some documents to the Senate a long time ago)," Albayalde said.
Albayalde reiterated his office is preparing to submit all documents once approved by the President.
"Yes, actually we are preparing for this already. Napag usapan na rin namin yan doon sa Real Numbers sa (It was tackled during the Real Numbers event in) Malacanang. We are preparing for all the documents just in case we have the go signal from the Commander in Chief," he added.
In a resolution dated April 10, the high court, in the consolidated cases of Aileen Amora et.al. vs. Dela Rosa and Juanita Dano et.al. vs. dela Rosa, denied Solicitor General Jose Calida's motion for reconsideration against the SC order requiring the PNP to produce the said documents.
The two suits questioned the validity of the operationalizing guidelines of the war on drugs particularly CMC No. 16-2016 otherwise known as PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign Plan Project: Double Barrel and Memorandum Circular 2017-112 providing procedural guidelines.
Calida claimed the documents particularly those on individuals who are subject of the government's war on drugs required contain sensitive information that may affect national security.
Ruling otherwise, the SC in its resolution explained that " memorandum circulars are mere administrative rules (and) administrative rules cannot prevail over the Constitution, and, in the hierarchy of laws, rank even lower than those of laws and of ordinances."
"This Court would like to determine for itself, through the existence of the requested information and documents, whether the conduct of operations were indeed done in the performance of official functions. Indeed, this Court is not a trier of facts, and it is not within our jurisdiction to determine questions of fact and evaluate the truthfulness of the contents. In ordering the production of the documents, the Court exercises its judicial power to protect and enforce inherent rights," the SC's 55-page resolution on the matter said.
PNP spokesman Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, for his part, said "the PNP maintains the lawful legitimacy of all police operations carried out to implement exiting laws against illegal drugs".
He reiterated that all opertations are conducted with "due diligence, proper authority and keen observance of prescribed police operational procedures or rules of engagement, including procedural response by police personnel to extreme situations when their own lives are put in imminent danger."
"If at all there is valid reason to cry foul over any police operation that resulted in death to the violator, then by all means the PNP and the concerned personnel will squarely face the charges in the proper forum. But any attempt to manipulate public opinion against the PNP based on sweeping halftruths is most uncalled for," Bulalacao said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency