DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights will conduct an investigation into the killing of 15 individuals, including the Mayor of Ozamiz City, Reynaldo Parojinog Sr in a police operation on Sunday dawn.
CHR spokesperson Aty. Jacqueline De Guia in an interview with CNN Philippines said they are conducting the investigation to ensure that there are no violations of the rule of law during the police operation.
“It is very important to stress that there is no conclusion yet and that is the purpose of the investigation to be conducted , to find out whether or not the protocols were followed and whether or not the rule of law was upheld in the circumstance,” she said.
De Guia added they want to find out the truth about the incidents to help government improve its policy if there is a violation.
“That is why we heed the public to put importance in the role of the commission in terms of ferreting out the truth in all of these instances, so that in case there are sufficient basis, then we can actually have concrete policy changes forwarded to government so that incidents such as this will be avoided in the future. But if there is no basis, then rest assured this will be dismissed,” she said.
The incident claimed the lives of 15 individuals, including that of the mayor and his wife. The Parojinogs were named by President Rodrigo Duterte as abetting the illegal drug trade.
Meanwhile, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the previous pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte about the CHR investigating law enforcers will not affect the investigation.
During the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang Monday, July 31, Guevarra said the CHR, including the Ombudsman have to do their own mandates.
“They have to do their own mandates. When the President said that he’d be informed if any soldier or law enforcer will be undergoing any investigation, I presume he was speaking as Commander-in-Chief and not as Chief Executive,” he said.
Guevarra said the President is just saying that as the Commander-in-Chief “it would be a lot better if you let me know about this investigation.”
“That’s how I understand the President’s statement, all right? He is a lawyer. He is a prosecutor, okay? He knows criminal law, criminal procedure very well, and he knows the limits of what he can do and what he can’t,” he added.
Hours after his second State of the Nation Address on July 25, Duterte in a media conference, said he will not allow government forces to go to the CHR to be investigated.
“I will not allow my men to go there to be investigated. Remember this. Human Rights Commission, you address your request through me because the Armed Forces is under me and the police is under me. Kaya pag kinwestion (question) ninyo sila for investigation, dadaan muna sa akin (So, if you ask them to be investigated, it has to pass through me)” he said.
“Padaanin niyo sa akin lahat. Lahat. Maski sino. Pulis o imbestigahin niyo, padaanin niyo dito. You address it to the DILG, to me. Attention DILG. ‘Pag sinabi kong huwag kayo magpa-imbestiga, huwag kayong magpapaimbestiga (Let them course it through me. All of it. For anyone who is involved. You want to investigate the police, pass through ),” Duterte added. (davaotoday.com)