After about two months of following up with six request and follow-up letters, 26 calls and six visits to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) is still empty-handed with its requests for information.
The promise of Executive Order No. 2 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 23, 2016 clearly assured “people’s constitutional right to information and the state policies to full public disclosure and transparency in the public service and providing guidelines therefor.”
How soon should requested information be released? State agencies are given 15 working days to produce and release the information, according to law.
But after 40 working days, the said government agencies still has nothing to show the PCIJ, except for a mere power-point presentation from the PNP. The Free Legal Assistance Group, an organization of human rights lawyers, also has been having the same “vexatious experience,” as the PCIJ called it in an article on its website, trying to get information from the said agencies.
In summary, PCIJ and FLAG are requesting for the following documents and information:
- Number of people killed by identified persons during the government’s “war on drugs” from June 30 to the present, and all relevant data.
- Number of people killed by “vigilantes” or those still unidentified, in connection to the government’s “war on drugs” from June 30, 2016 to the present and all pertinent and relevant data.
- “Any written guidelines, protocols or instructions from the President on how the PNP is to carry out its role in relation to the conduct of the ‘war on drugs’, including but not limited to identification, surveillance, apprehension, or processing for prosecution of alleged offenders, with copies of or access to any relevant documents in relation to this item.”
- “Any written guidelines, protocols or instructions from your office to the Philippine National Police on how to carry out the ‘war on drugs’ including, but not limited to, any revisions, amendments, or clarifications (written or otherwise) to the existing Rules of Engagement of the Philippine National Police (PNP).”
- A copy of the present Rules of Engagement of the PNP.
- Total number of “war on drugs” surrenderees to the PNP so far and all relevant data.
- “Any written protocol, guidelines, and/or rules and regulations, if any, on what to do with persons who surrender and how to process them, together with any forms or documents that they are asked or required to sign.”
- “Any list, enumeration, or document that is denominated, characterized, labeled, identified, referred to, or used as an ‘Order of Battle’ involving known drug offenders and any protocols, instructions, or guidelines on the manner by which this list, enumeration or document is verified, updated and/or authenticated.”
- Written guidelines, regulations, rules, instructions on implementing the following”
- Oplan Double Barrel
- Oplan Rody or Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths
- Oplan TOKHANG (Toktok-Hangyo)
In a period of two months, the PCIJ has sent six letters, made at least 26 calls, and visited the DOJ, DILG, and PNP six times. The article even included an account of the follow-up calls they had made and the conversations that had taken place.
Moreover, the same PCIJ article said even the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights seems to be having a hard time. Some senators requested for copies of spot reports on anti-drugs related killings last September 13 from PNP Chief Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa. According to the PCIJ article, it isn’t clear yet whether this Senate information request has been granted.