SolGen awaits 'proper signals' to submit draft EO on independent body to probe drug war

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra on Sunday said his office is "waiting for the proper signals" from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. before submitting a proposal to create an independent body to probe the killings linked to the Duterte administration's drug campaign.

Guevarra told CNN Philippines that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) came up with the proposal including a draft executive order (EO) to create an independent panel last year.

"The OSG has crafted the details of a proposed independent commission a long time ago, including a draft executive order. But we are waiting for the proper signals for its submission to the president," he said.

He said that while the government is already investigating deaths linked to former President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, the proposed independent panel will have an advantage of having “flexibility” in its operations.

"It may summon anyone it wants, at any time," Guevarra said.

Guevarra, who served as Duterte's former justice chief, said that the proposed panel will support the efforts of the legal system and law enforcement agencies.

"Our regular investigative processes, through our law enforcement agencies, the prosecution service, and our courts, and the work of an independent commission complement and will mutually reinforce each other," stressed the solicitor general.

When asked what "proper signals" the OSG is waiting for before submitting its proposal to Marcos, Guevarra said: "For now we are feeling the pulse of our political leadership on the acceptability of the idea."

Guevarra raised the idea of creating an independent panel to probe the drug war killings after the International Criminal Court (ICC) pre-trial chamber gave the go signal to prosecutor Karim Khan to resume the investigation on drug-related killings that happened under Duterte.

The Solicitor General said the Philippine government expects Khan to file his comments soon.

Sought for his comment on the independent panel proposed by Guevarra, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said: "I do not agree."