Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) created under Administrative Order No. 35, presided over the 12th Regular Meeting of the Committee at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on 26 November 2019.
Secretary Guevarra invited the IAC member-agencies in attendance, such as the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to review the operational guidelines implementing A. O. No. 35, including the scope of extra-legal killings covered by the monitoring and prosecutorial mechanisms established pursuant to the A.O.
State Prosecutor Gino Santiago, Chief of the A.O. No. 35 Secretariat, discussed the history and mandate of the IAC and the operational mechanisms currently in place. He likewise reported on the status of certain ELK cases, particularly those in the Central Visayas Region.
Meanwhile, the Committee referred back the proposed Revised Operational Guidelines to the Technical Working Group for further study. It approved the use of a new logo for the IAC. It likewise approved the request of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to be granted observer status in IAC meetings on cases falling under their respective mandates to enhance the functions of the IAC.
IAC was established by virtue of A. O. 35 series of 2012 to handle cases of enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations against human rights. The Committee is vested with the power to conduct an inventory and monitoring of all ELK cases including the establishment of Special Investigation Teams (SIT) composed of prosecutors and investigators to handle the build-up of cases and improve prosecution of crimes which are deemed to involve gross violations of human rights.