The Philippine Department of Justice investigate thousands of murders in the country during President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war. The primary investigation follows the review of 52 murder cases that indicate abuse of power by the police.
The Justice Department’s initial findings indicate that the police’s story that all the people killed were drug dealers resisting arrest is not true. “If we have the time and resources, we will investigate thousands of cases,” said the minister.
The ministry says many of the victims did not have a weapon with them or had not been used, while police said they had, which is why the victims had been shot. Also, many medical data and police reports of the cases are missing. The investigation could eventually lead to lawsuits, the ministry said.
It is the first time a government agency in the Philippines admits things went wrong during Duterte’s bloody war on drugs. The Philippines is widely criticized internationally. The International Criminal Court in The Hague is investigating the years-long battle against drug dealers and users in which thousands of people have been killed without trial.
In principle, the court only deals with cases that cannot be investigated in the country concerned. However, the Philippines has not been a member of the ICC since 2019 and refuses to cooperate with the court.