Senate probes on spate of extrajudicial killings

Sen. Leila De Lima on Monday expressed concern on the rising number of extrajudicial killing incidents in the course of the administration’s anti-drug war.

Sen. Leila De Lima on Monday expressed concern on the rising number of extrajudicial killing incidents in the course of the administration’s anti-drug war. “What is particularly worrisome is that the campaign against drugs seems to be an excuse for some law enforcers and other elements like vigilantes to commit murder with impunity,” said De Lima, who chaired the committee on justice and human rights during the Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings and summary executions.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, added that the campaign against drugs should not deter anyone from following the legislative due process. Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said on her opening statement that the war on drugs should not be reduced to killings and must be restorative and humane.

For his part, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano accused critics of using the term extrajudicial killings loosely to discredit the efforts of the administration and the Philippine National Police (PNP). He also displayed figures showing the decline of crime volume from the previous administration until July this year when Duterte was already in office.

The first two of the 12 witnesses appeared to testify in the two-day Senate probe. Both were relatives of suspected drug pushers who were killed during police operations.
On the second day of the senate probe, PNP Chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa discussed the improving crime situation in the country as result of the various efforts of the PNP and current administration. He also denied any links to vigilante killings.

Part of the panel was Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Chito Gascon who stated that in the pursuit of wiping out drugs and criminality, following the Constitution must still be considered requisite. He also discussed the possibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) assuming jurisdiction if the Philippine government fails to resolve the situation on extrajudicial killings.

Other resource persons included Roselyn Borja of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Dir. Dante Gierran of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

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