MANILA - Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday insisted that only the Supreme Court is entitled to receive documents on alleged extrajudicial killings under the government’s war on drugs.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of proceedings on another case at the high court Tuesday, Calida refuted the allegation of human rights group Centerlaw that the Office of the Solicitor General was blocking the release of documents on summary killings despite an order from the high court.
“We’re not hiding it. They are not entitled to it,” he said.
Centerlaw represents family members of alleged victims of slays associated with anti-drug operation Oplan Tokhang from Sta. Ana, Manila who have sought the SC’s help to put a stop to government's drug war.
In their plea, they sought copies of the documents the SC had required the OSG to submit to the high court during oral arguments on petitions against the drug war in December 2017.
“What is their business trying to know other incidents? They’re not the lawyers of all EJKs... What is the relation between a killing in Marawi and in Sta. Ana?” he asked.
“Our position was we should not give because we are not trying the entire EJK in the Philippines. And besides, the SC cannot be a trier of facts,” he said.
Centerlaw has been pushing the OSG to furnish it a copy of the documents, based on the high tribunals’ ruling in its favor.
It filed a new motion before the high court last week to compel the OSG to provide them with a copy of the documents, citing violations of the Rules of Court as basis when the OSG submitted the documents without serving copies to opposing parties.
But Calida repeated his argument that disclosing the drug war documents might compromise the investigation of the cases.
“Then they will know the movements of our operatives. Some are still being investigated. Why give away matters that still pertain to [the] investigation stage?” he said.
Calida said the OSG had complied with the SC’s directive last year on the condition that it should not be given to other parties not involved in the case.
He claimed that the SC impliedly agreed to the OSG’s condition because it had not issued any further rulings on the issue.
Centerlaw had warned Calida’s refusal to release the documents “is inviting the International Criminal Court (ICC) to assume jurisdiction in investigating the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines."