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8月24日のまにら新聞から

No order from Duterte to cops not to release information on activists' killings - Palace

[ 447 words|2020.8.24|英字 (English) ]

Malacañang on Saturday denied that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to release information to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the recent attacks against rights defenders and activists.

In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the allegations were not true.

“As an officer of the court, being a lawyer, the President adheres to the rule of law and he wants the wheels of justice to grind, for the sake of the victims of abuse and violence and their families,” Roque said.

“The Administration is equally interested to unmask those behind these brazen killings, which are being blamed to state agents, and we will leave no stone unturned to put these people behind bars,” he added.

Meanwhile, Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, also denied the CHR claim, saying the agency is free to conduct its own probe.

“The Philippine National Police categorically denies that President Rodrigo Duterte issued any order prohibiting the release of information or data with regard to the ongoing investigation on the recent attacks against rights defenders and activists,” said Banac.

“In the conduct of investigation on crime incidents, the PNP strictly adheres to all procedures which are covered by the Rules on Evidence and the Data Privacy Law mandating the protection of identities while the investigation is pending,” he added.

Banac said once the case is filed with the prosecutor, the police is at no liberty to disclose any and all details without clearance from the assigned prosecutor.

“The CHR is free to conduct its own investigation and accordingly, to develop and procure its own evidence. This is independent and separate from the standard protocols of the Philippine National Police,” he said.

But according to Human Rights group, Karapatan, if Roque and the PNP cannot answer why they did not submit the report of their investigation to CHR and why they are refusing to cooperate with the said agency, their statements just further bolster the conclusion that state forces are accountable for the deaths of the activists.

“We are no longer surprised if indeed there is such an order given by President Rodrigo Duterte to the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to release or share information with regards to the CHR's investigation ? which PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac insisted is 'independent and separate' from the PNP's standard protocols,” she added.

“Without a substantial response to these questions, their statements just further bolster the conclusion that State forces are indeed accountable for these killings, or that the State has extremely failed in its obligation to deliver justice and exact accountability,” she added.

A number of known activists were recently killed in the country. Ella Dionisio/DMS