Lawyer’s group seeks SC contempt order on PNP, OSG over ‘irrelevant’ drug war files

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23)— A lawyer’s group has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to cite the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in contempt for submitting “irrelevant” and “rubbish” documents in connection with the government’s controversial drug war case.

In a motion filed Monday, the Center for International Law (Centerlaw) said the two bodies failed to follow the high court’s order by handing over case files which were non-drug related.

The OSG and PNP in May submitted to the court 289 compact discs (CDs), which contained 1,792 case files on deaths related to the administration’s anti-drug war campaign. The files included 801 solved cases and 991 unsolved cases.

However, an examination revealed that only 9.99 percent of the solved cases and 44.20 percent of the unsolved cases were “possibly drug-related,” according to Centerlaw.

"When an examination of an ample sampling of the files contained in the CDs/DVDs was made, it became clear that an overwhelming number of the death incidents submitted by the OSG and PNP are non-drug related cases," the group said in its motion.

"What the OSG and PNP virtually want is for the Supreme Court and the Petitioners to utterly waste valuable time and resources examining case files which are totally irrelevant and, in fact, absolutely rubbish insofar as the instant cases are concerned," it added.

Centerlaw likewise urged the PNP and OSG to submit correct and complete documents on individuals killed during police’s anti-drug operations, and sought for “additional count of direct contempt if they fail to do so.”

The group, together with the Free Legal Assistance Group, in 2017 filed cases before the high court challenging the legality of the administration's flagship anti-drug campaign, which has led to the death of thousands of suspected users and dealers.

The high court had ordered OSG to provide petitioners copies of all police reports on the drug war operations. But the Solicitor General previously denied the request, citing issues of national security. 

Government data shows at least 6,600 people have been killed in anti-illegal drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in July 2016.

READ: Philippines suspends aid from countries that back UN drug war probe

CNN Philippines Correspondent Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.