SC orders Calida to release drug-related police reports

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 2) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to provide copies of all police reports on the government's controversial anti-drug war to the petitioners in a case questioning the legality of Oplan Double Barrel, also known as Oplan Tokhang.

The order, which the judges approved unanimously, is an apparent to seek transparency on President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign.

The Office of the Solicitor General had previously denied the SC's previous request to submit the drug-war related documents, citing issues of national security.

In 2017 the Free Legal Assistance Group and the Center for International Law had filed cases before the SC challenging the legality of the administration's flagship anti-drug campaign, which has led to the death of thousands of suspected users and dealers.

In a statement, CenterLaw welcomed this development in their case. The group represents 29 individuals from San Andres Bukid who sought protection against Manila policemen for the deaths in their community which they linked to the anti-drug campaign.

"These documents are the first step towards the long road for justice for the Petitioners and to thousands of victims of the 'war on drugs' and their families. CenterLaw extends its gratitude to the Supreme Court for upholding the basic and fundamental right of the Petitioners to due process, and for promoting transparency and integrity in the proceedings," CenterLaw said in a statement.

Former police chief and senatorial candidate Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said that he is willing to release the documents but added that those might open up policemen to harassment.

"Prone na prone yung kapulisan natin sa harassment. Pag maharass yang mga pulis na yan, wala nang kikilos. Wala na magtatrabaho. Dahil pag ikaw pinaylan ng kaso, isusupinde ka, saan ka kukuha ng pangkain? Wala ka na sweldo," the police chief who was in charge during the height of Oplan Tokhang said during a campaign sortie.

[Translation: Our policemen are prone to harassment. When policemen are harassed, they don't move. They don't work. If a case is filed against you, you get suspended, then where will you get money for food? You don't get paid.]

CNN Philippines' correspondent Anjo Alimario and senior correspondent Ina Andolong contributed to this report.