THE Department of Justice (DOJ) is likely to widen its probe on death cases involving law enforcers tasked to implement President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs. 

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the Department of Justice (DOJ) will hold a meeting within the week with Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief   Gen. Guillermo Eleazar and other officials to discuss the findings of the  DOJ review panel on the 52 anti-illegal drug operations conducted by the police that resulted in deaths and the possible review of other similar incidents.

The review panel’s report has also been submitted to President Duterte who has remained mum on the findings.

“We’ll also discuss a review of drug death cases other than the 52 cases turned over by the PNP to the DOJ, as well as the investigation of similar cases that may arise in the future,” Guevarra said when asked what are the issues likely to be discussed during his meeting with the PNP chief. 

The possibility of expanding the panel’s probe came following Duterte’s recent speech before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where he directed the justice department to dig deeper into drug-related cases where deaths occurred and bring to  justice those accountable. 

Duterte told the UNGA that he has instructed the DOJ and PNP  to review the conduct of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and to make accountable those who acted beyond what the law requires. 

“Based on what he said, the President wants the DOJ to take further action, in collaboration with the PNP,” Guevarra earlier noted.

Aside from the  52 drug cases, the panel has also received 107 case files from the Philippine Drug enforcement Agency (PDEA) for review. 

While it is reviewing these records, the panel is also monitoring the preliminary investigation and prosecution of 87 criminal cases lodged against more than a hundred law enforcers for alleged wrongful conduct during anti-illegal drug operations. 

In his report before  the 44th UN Human Rights Council  Session last February, Guevarra said  the panel  intends to review a total of 5,655 anti-illegal drugs operations where deaths occurred.

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