The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday said it wanted police officers involved in the illegal drug trade to be held accountable and not only removed from the ranks, following Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos’s courtesy resignation call.

Abalos earlier this week asked for the courtesy resignations of Philippine National Police (PNP) coronels and generals as he claimed several
ranking officers were involved in illegal drugs.

“Lumalabas na malaki ang problema dito sa kapulisan. Lumalabas na merong mga general, merong mga colonel na sangkot sa droga. At ayon sa rekomendasyon ng PNP at ng ilang kapulisan, ako ay nananawagan sa lahat ng full colonel, hanggang sa general, ako ay umaapela na mag-submit ng courtesy resignation,” Abalos said.

Acknowledging the move, the CHR called for charges to be filed against cops confirmed to be involved in the drug trade.

“A resignation or removal from office may only be the first step in the pursuit of justice, and not an omission of liability. In this case, if allegations are proven to be true, criminal and administrative charges should be filed against erring police officers of the [PNP],” the CHR said in a statement.

The CHR also reiterated its call for justice for the victims of the drug war.

“Above all, we ask that the victims of the drug war be at the core of the administration’s continued anti-illegal drugs campaign. Ascertaining justice for families whose loved ones were arbitrarily deprived of opportunity and life is a realisation of their duty to serve and protect,” it said.

The country’s new anti-drug policy, named the “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan” program, seeks to combat the drug problem through demand reduction and rehabilitation of persons who use illegal drugs. John Ezekiel J. Hirro