Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has supported the recent call by Amnesty International (AI) to put an end to the government’s bloody war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives and promoted the culture of violence and impunity in the country.
De Lima also expressed support to demand for government accountability for the thousands of summary executions and extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the country often perpetrated by state authorities under the directive of Mr. Duterte.
“I join the incessant calls by local and international groups to stop the killings in the country that have not just taken the lives of our countrymen but allowed the continued proliferation of illegal drugs under the protection of police authorities,” she said.
“The Duterte administration should now admit that it has miserably failed in stopping the scourge of illegal drugs in the country, and therefore, should make amends by holding these police drug protectors accountable for their crimes. They should reassess their approach and strategies in combatting the scourge of illegal drugs,” she said.
Following the resignation of General Oscar Albayalde as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) last Oct. 14, international rights group Amnesty International issued an official statement calling for an end to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
Calling Albayalde’s resignation as “the last blow to the credibility of the so-called ‘war on drugs,’” AI questioned how Mr. Duterte easily promised to accord Albayalde his right to due process of law but has continued to refuse to give justice to the victims who were unlawfully killed by the police force without due process.
“The Philippines authorities must ensure that justice is done and that this lawless and murderous campaign ends now…This scandal shows that impunity is entrenched in the institutions supposed to uphold human rights and the rule of law,” AI said.
Albayalde relinquished his post after he was accused to have intervened in the dismissal of 13 policemen over the irregular anti-drug operation in Pampanga in 2013 as then Pampanga provincial chief.
De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, pointed out that the immediate passage into law of her proposed Anti-EJK Bill will help prosecute, at the proper time, Mr. Duterte and other personalities involved in the government’s drug war.
“I hope that my Senate colleagues could join me and other human rights defenders across the world in defending human rights and demanding accountability for all the state-led killings in our country,” she said.
De Lima was referring to her Senate Bill (SB) No. 371 seeking to define and provide for acts that constitute EJKs and strengthen the intervention and investigative functions of government agencies, including the Commission on Human Rights.
First introduced in the 17th Congress, De Lima’s measure also proposes to make local chief executives and chief of police administratively liable if their communities experience a surge in EJK cases, except in communities beset by armed conflict.
Last July, the lady Senator from Bicol reiterated her call to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to stop the “Duterte killing machine” by initiating an independent probe on the rampant killings in the country.
Her incessant call was prompted by the Amnesty International report published on the same month showing that the killings in the country have breached the “threshold of crimes against humanity” and have spread to other areas, such as Bulacan.