MANILA -– Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Monday said Senate investigation would raise doubts on the legitimacy of the operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) against drugs traffickers in the country.
”Any investigation on the matter therefore is baseless and may be viewed as an attempt to raise doubts on the legitimacy of the police operations being conducted against the drug menace,” Panelo said in a text message to the Malacanang media.
Panelo said while neophyte Senator Leila de Lima has the duty to initiate investigation in aid of legislation, “there appears to be no basis for a Senate investigation other than speculation and conjecture.”
”The police agency as a matter of procedure conducts immediately its own investigation when a civilian is killed in the course of an arrest,” he said.
Panelo said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has not even initiated any investigation of the so-called killing of pushers.
De Lima, a former secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ), said she already prepared a draft of a Senate resolution she will file to investigate the spate of killings of drug pushers.
Solicitor General Jose Calida reportedly hit De Lima for pushing Senate inquiry on the killed drug suspects, saying the neophyte senator is after “media mileage.”
Calida assured the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to protect them, saying he will not allow anybody to derail the government effort to stop drug trafficking and drug menace in the country.
Calida said the neophyte senator was not able to stop drug problem right in her own turf when she was DOJ chief, referring to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) where drug lords were able to enjoy luxury lifestyles.
De Lima’s proposal drew mixed reactions from her colleagues with Senator Panfilo Lacson saying he would rather wait first for formal complaints to be filed before initiating an investigation.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, said he would oppose holding investigation based on mere allegations of extra-judicial killings in the aggressive campaign of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to stamp out illegal drugs.
Senator Richard Gordon said the PNP must conduct its own probe on the allegations of the spate killings amid the government’s massive campaign against drug menace.
Outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon, political ally of De Lima, said Calida cannot stop the Senate from conducting investigation “in aid of legislation”.
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said he intends to participate in any Senate inquiry, hoping that it will support the law enforcers in the war against illegal drugs.
”We do not intend to embarrass but rather support our law enforcement officials in their fight to keep our streets peaceful and protect our youth and our people from the drug menace,” Angara said. Jelly Musico/PNA/northboundasia.com