MANILA - Solicitor General Jose Calida has refused to comply with the Supreme Court's order for the Duterte administration to submit reports on the death of more than 3,800 drug suspects in presumed legitimate police anti-drug operations under the administration's fierce war on drugs.
Calida, in a motion for reconsideration filed before the high court Thursday, argued that the documents being sought by magistrates cannot be submitted since the reports involve sensitive information that have national security implications.
The Supreme Court in December had compelled the government to submit the records on the last day of oral arguments on petitions challenging the legality of the government's crackdown on illegal drugs.
Among documents requested were personal information of those killed, copies of warrants if issued, pre-operation plans, and post-operation reports.
Calida had earlier agreed to submit the requested documents and even asked for an extension to submit government's memoranda, or a pleading that wraps up its arguments on the case, due to "voluminous" documents.
The government's top lawyer, however, argued that submitting the requested documents "in the long run will have an undeniable effect on national security."
"It could spell the success or failure of follow-up operations of police and other law enforcement bodies, aside from endangering the lives of those on the list as well as those already in custody," Calida said in his motion.
"Moreover, their submission would not only compromise ongoing police anti-drug operations but likewise put at risk the lives of informants who provide such information," he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte had also previously announced his refusal to release documents on drug war killings, saying former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also did the same when she elevated the drug problem into a national security concern.
Duterte said such documents were considered "state secrets."
Calida, in his motion, further argued that the requested documents are "not relevant" in determining the legality of the police anti-drug operations, and asked that the Supreme Court instead recall its directive to the Office of the Solicitor General to submit such documents.
Government has many times defended the drug war, saying it does not sanction summary killings or condone police abuses. Officials have said drug suspects slain in police operations had put up violent resistance, prompting police to fight back.
Read the Solicitor General's full motion for reconsideration here: